An Akel official who prosecutors previously alleged played a hand in the multi-million euro land swindle deal in Dromolaxia has not been included on the charge sheet ahead of the trial.
During Friday’s hearing at the Larnaca Criminal Court it was revealed that Akel official Christos Alekou will not be facing charges in relation to the case. The charge sheet was also condensed to 28 counts from 33 while the trial was adjourned until March 14 after the defence asked for additional time to examine the evidence.
The defendants are now the Head of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) trade union (EPOET) Orestis Vasiliou, former Cyta marketing manager Yiannis Souroullas, his brother and land registry official Gregoris Souroullas, Akel member Venizelos Zanettos, jewellery shop owner Antonis Ioakim, ex-Cyta boss Stathis Kittis and former Electricity Authority boss Charalambos Tsouris.
They are all facing charges including conspiracy to commit a crime, bribery, corruption, fraud and abuse of authority to the tune of around €23million.
The property in question was bought from a Turkish Cypriot man in 2010 and then sold the following year to the CyTA Pension Fund for a disproportionately high price. The land provisions were upgraded suspiciously fast while several high-ranking Cyta officials resigned in the wake of the investigation.
Alki football club chairman Nicos Lillis and Cyprus Intelligence Agency (KYP) officers Kostas Miamiliotis and Lefteris Mouskos are facing separate charges of corruption and fraud for their alleged involvement in the same deal but in a separate trial at the Larnaca district court.
Lillis had previously implicated to investigators during questioning the role played by Kittis, Tsouris, the Souroullas brothers, Akel members Zanettos and Alekou, Ioakim and Vasiliou.
In another development, defence lawyer Georgios Georgiou recently excused himself from counsel for Lillis after private conversations – involving Lillis, Lillis’ wife and some other lawyers – from his office were secretly recorded and then leaked to the media.