Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s bodyguard Serif Avcil claimed to have “lost his phone on the way to the police station”, police sergeant Bilger Koral said in court on Tuesday.

Koral was speaking at Avcil’s second court hearing, after he had been arrested on Friday night and appeared in court for the first time on Saturday.

He said Avcil had been called to the police station on his mobile phone on Friday, but that when police asked for it upon his arrival, he said he had lost it on the way.

Avcil had allegedly said he had dropped it in the car of the person who brought him to the police station, but that a subsequent search of the car produced nothing.

Koral went on to reiterate the police’s version of events, explaining that Avcil had registered for a master’s degree in business management at the now-infamous Cyprus Health and Social Sciences University (KSTU) on June 5 last year, but that the university’s grading system showed him to have enrolled on February 2, 2022.

Then, he said, between June 6 and June 15 last year, “fake course grades were randomly entered, and he graduated top of his class on June 19.”

Avcil had allegedly also told police that he “did not know where the diploma certificate was.”

Judge Gulay Ugur said Avcil “did not help police by hiding evidence”, and handed him a further six-day remand.

Earlier on Tuesday, general secretary of the north’s higher education accreditation authority (Yodak) Dervish Refikler also appeared in court for the second time, having been arrested on Friday having been accused of taking bribes while the KSTU’s medical school was applying for Yodak accreditation.

He is accused of taking bribes consisting of $800, €700, and a set of airpods.

Speaking in court, police investigator Ortuc Ozbayli said police had searched Refikler’s house, and that two laptops, an earphones case, a diploma for a master’s degree in business management, and a transcript were all found and taken as evidence.

Refikler was also handed a further six-day remand.