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Cyprus

Monks take cash scandal to court

avakum monastery christos photo 2
Avakoum Monastery (Christos Theodorides)

Monks suspected of involvement in a money laundering scandal at the Osiou Avakoum monastery filed an appeal at the Nicosia District Court on Tuesday.

The appeal is to have the €807,000 cash seized in an investigation into dealings at the monastery returned to them and have the bank accounts of the three monks unfrozen.

Lawyer Andriana Klaedes filed the appeal, which also demanded the return of their property.

According to the appeal of the three affected monks, it is their position that not all the facts were presented by the police to secure the freezing orders for the money and property and that if the court had known all the facts, it would not have issued the said orders.

The monks claimed that the money was part of a property donation to the monastery, for land being managed by one of the monks.

This money would be used for the construction of a multi-purpose building in the area of Lythrodontas, in which the abbot, other monks and clergy would reside, while there would also be an educational centre.

Indeed, these claims are supported by a sworn affidavit filed with the court by the person who was allegedly one of the owners of the property.

The man also presented evidence that all taxes from the sale of the land were paid.

According to the petition, the property was sold six years before the construction of the monastery so did not come either from contributions of the faithful or from other sources.

Another four sworn statements were also submitted about other donations to the monastery by individuals for the cash in question.

A hearing date has been set for April 26.

Land in Lythrodontas owned by the monastery has already been called into question after it was found the monks were keeping reindeer there illegally.

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