Elam and an ex-police chief were linked to the ongoing church scandal involving suspected money extortion and sex between monks at the Osios Avakoum monastery on Tuesday.

It emerged that Elam head Christos Christou and ex-police chief Kypros Michaelides were present at the Tamasos bishopric when a money box containing €800,000 from the monastery in Fterikoudi was being counted.

The bishopric’s church committee was also called in by Bishop Isaias on the evening of March 5 to witness the counting, Christou said.

Christou said he was present at this incident as a member of the throne committee of the bishopric.

However, according to the bishopric’s website, his name is not listed as a member of any church committee.

The Cyprus Mail reached out to the bishopric, who were not immediately available to comment on the matter.

Michaelides was present at the bishopric as a member of the church committee and is expected to testify as a witness for Bishop Isaias in police investigations into the alleged extortion.

Isaias had brought the allegations about the monks’ dealings both to the church, and over the weekend to the police.

The allegations about the monks having sex with each other and extorting money from believers for fake miracles will be examined at an ecclesiastical court, which will meet for the first time on Wednesday.

However, the monks’ lawyers Andrianna Klaedes and Nikolaos Koulouris have denied the charges brought against the two monks, claiming the scandal of crimes at the monastery runs much deeper.

A letter from the lawyers said the monks were allegedly kidnapped from the monastery and forced to sign a false confession.

There are currently two investigations ongoing at the monastery, one concerning financial crimes of the two monks with the charges being brought by Isaias, and another claiming mafia-style treatment by church authorities brought forward by the monks.

In their letter, the monks’ lawyers said a group of around 30 people, of which 10 were hooded, barged into the monastery illegally and kidnapped the two monks, Archimandrite Nektarios and Archimandrite Porfirios.

The operation was overseen by Isaias, the lawyers claim, who allegedly kept them in separate areas of the bishopric and grilled them for hours, while they were under guard.

Speaking about the operation on Tuesday and admitting his presence, Christou said “I was at the bishopric in Tamasos.”

I saw nothing of what is being bandied about, kidnappings and such. The monks were present at the bishopric and proceedings were underway,” he said.

“I did not perceive any atmosphere of terror, the monks had been summoned by their superior, no one arrived under threat of force,” he claimed.

Asked about footage, which shows an almost raid-like scene, and whether the bishopric would have the right to seize funds from the monastery, Christou noted that the monastery belongs to the bishopric.

“Naturally in the course of an investigation, the bishopric has the absolute right to seize evidence,” he said.

Elsewhere, sources have alleged that Bishop Isaias was privy to information about the monks’ misconduct since December but kept mum to pick a more opportune moment to reveal the problem.

Government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said the government would wait for investigations to run their course before announcing a position.

The spokesman’s remarks came in response to questions over to what degree the state can and ought to oversee, control and tax church revenues from profitable activities, such as the display of holy relics or other artefacts for veneration.

He added that the matter at the forefront of the monastery scandals is the possible violation of the criminal code and that this will be confronted once investigations wrap.