Cyprus Mail

Legal Services to meet over monastery scandal

avakum monastery christos photo 2
Avakoum Monastery (Christos Theodorides)

A meeting at the state Legal Services will be held this week on the potential financial crimes and money laundering at the disgraced Osiou Avakoum monastery, sources confirmed to the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday.

Attorney-general George Savvides had said that a meeting would be held without alluding to when it would happen, earlier in the day.

Sources later confirmed that the meeting about the monastery would certainly be held this week along with another meeting about the ‘golden passports’ case.

“Our policy as a legal service is to limit as much as possible public statements about ongoing investigations,” Savvides said about the monastery. “But what I can tell you is that now the various teams and the criminal investigators have had the opportunity to carry out some work.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that police investigations are still underway, and also include a video purportedly showing a monk beating a woman at the monastery. The monks dispute the authenticity of the video, however officers are also examining a separate report of sexual harassment.

The financial element of the scandal is currently being scrutinised by police’s financial crime unit as well as the anti-money laundering unit (Mokas).

Authorities are investigating money laundering in the matter, as well as obtaining money under false pretences.

MPs have called for a thorough investigation of church donations for money laundering. The interior ministry has also shared information over fundraiser applications made by the monastery – including one of €3 million, where it failed to submit the necessary financial statements.

Specialist investigators are also exploring a number of videos captured on CCTV. The burning question is the sound that was being recorded. The monks have argued the sound was disabled – with their legal team suggesting Tamassos Bishop Isias called in a favour with his brother who works at the secret service to remotely activate the sound.


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