NICOSIA - The head of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) trade union (EPOET) Orestis Vasiliou was yesterday remanded for seven days in custody in connection with the Dromolaxia property fraud investigation.
According to the police, Vasiliou was arrested at Larnaca airport yesterday morning after returning to Cyprus on a flight from Athens and later taken to court.
Also in custody are Cyta boss Stathis Kittis, Senior Cyta Marketing Manager Yiannis Souroullas and his brother Cytavision head Gregoris Souroullas.
All four suspects face charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, bribery, fraud and abuse of authority.
In a pledge to the public following the remand hearing, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said the authorities were determined to bring everyone guilty of wrongdoing in the case before justice, regardless of their standing in society.
“We will be sending out the clear message that anyone who commits crimes will be punished, especially those who abuse their positions of power.”
The minister clarified that the standard does not just apply to those who have received kickbacks but for anyone who has been involved or helped facilitate an act of corruption.
“Those who commit crimes should be aware that they will end up before court, regardless of whether they are a political figure or not.”
Asked how the authorities will proceed if evidence surfaces against an MP, Nicolaou said the constitution allows for the immunity of deputies to be lifted when they are implicated in crimes of such nature.
“I would like to confirm however that the investigation is not going in this direction,” the minister said.
An investigation was launched in June over allegations that a Turkish Cypriot owned property in Dromolaxia had been fraudulently purchased by Greek Cypriot businessman Nicos Lillis in 2010 for €1.27 million and sold the following year to the Cyta Pension Fund €9.9m.
Two officers from the Cyprus Intelligence Agency (KYP) are also under investigation on suspicion that they forged documentation in order for the land purchase to appear legal.