10 April 2014 12:25

An angry President Anastasiades on Wednesday dismissed criticism by opposition parties that a property transaction between the Archbishopric and the First Lady was legal but unethical.
"What is legal is not necessarily ethical was and will be a rule of life for me," Anastasiades said in a written statement.
"That's why - in my long political career - I have never been a member of a board of either a bank or a business, and I have never offered my legal services to public organisations," he added.
He was responding to what former coalition partner Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos - one of the President's harshest critics on the matter.
Adding that he had never acted in a 'deplorable' manner, the President also said that his wife Andri buying the plot of land next to the family home could not be branded as something 'reproachable'.
The First Lady and Archbishop Chrysostomos II have also dismissed the criticism after the story broke on the front page of daily Phileleftheros.
The paper - which also has a copy of the purchase agreement - said that she had bought a prime piece of property from the Archbishopric at a preferential price.
The plot in Limassol's most affluent residential area was sold for €500,000 - the amount payable in monthly instalments.
The deal was done at a much lower price than that estimated by property surveyors, the paper said.
The 1,739 square metre land at Mesovounia area in Yermasoyia was bought on February 3, 2014, at the price of €500,000 - but the estimated price by property evaluators is nearer €870,000.
The agreement signed by the Archbishop as the seller and Andri Anastasiades as the buyer provides for 75 monthly interest-free payments.
There was a cash down payment of €40,000 with an additional €160,000 to be paid by the end of April. The monthly payments were set at €4,000.
The First Lady said in a written statement that she was surprised and saddened that a perfectly legal transaction was misinterpreted and distorted in the press.
Archbishop Chrysostomos went a step further saying no preferential treatment took place and that the residential plot was on the market.
The price sold was representative of today's value in a stagnant property market, he added before branding the report as 'malicious'.
"Why didn't they have the decency to call me up first before publishing such a malicious report? The transaction is legal," he said.
Nonetheless, political parties argued that the transaction raises political, ethical, social and legal issues.
Socialist Edek said: "At a time when Cyprus is struggling economically, the President and his family should be the ones setting an example.
"They owe it to the thousands of unemployed and to the penniless pensioners."


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