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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-19

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Sunday, October 19, 1997


  • [01] Holbrooke bank gets export licence
  • [02] More stolen Cypriot artefacts found in Germany
  • [03] Rain traps villagers
  • [04] Massive security operation for tomorrow's Aeroporos trial
  • [05] Fisherman missing at sea
  • [06] Hunger strike bomber rushed to hospital
  • [07] Sudden boom in property market
  • [08] Prison warden `let inmates use his mobile phone'
  • [09] Price of milk shoots up
  • [10] Man dies of crash injuries
  • [11] Gruelling triathlon for cancer charities
  • [12] Apollonas victory keeps 100 per cent record on track

  • [01] Holbrooke bank gets export licence

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE CENTRAL Bank yesterday denied that US envoy Richard Holbrooke had influenced its decision to grant Crédit Suisse First Boston an offshore licence.

    Holbrooke, an investment banker on Wall Street, has a senior position with First Boston and recently stated he had no business interests in the Greece- Cyprus-Turkey region.

    But the decision to grant a branch of Crédit Suisse First Boston (Cyprus) Ltd an offshore licence follows a business breakfast in New York earlier this month arranged by Holbrooke for President Clerides to meet major American investors.

    Holbrooke has also trumpeted Cyprus as an economic success story in the region.

    However, Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou told the Cyprus Mail "the meeting in New York had absolutely nothing to do with" the licence for First Boston.

    He said Holbrooke had nothing to do with the bank in Cyprus, which is a subsidiary of the bank in Switzerland, but conceded that the American envoy was a board member of the group.

    Nevertheless, the Holbrooke connection is likely to anger Turkey which has already accused the US mediator of directing American business towards Greek Cypriots - a charge Holbrooke denies.

    In a statement to the Turkish Daily News last week, Holbrooke denied he had a conflict of interests in the region.

    "I am doing no business in Greece, Turkey, or Cyprus. I told my investment bank First Boston that I cannot do any business in the region because I have a responsibility to the US government," Holbrooke said.

    He also made clear no one else from First Boston had attended the breakfast, which he said was entirely "non-commercial".

    However, according to one economic analyst who did not want to be named, First Boston "almost certainly asked Holbrooke's opinion before making the move."

    The licence issue allows First Boston to establish a fully-fledged offshore banking unit on the island.

    The permit adjusts an existing banking licence, dating back to May 1996, under which First Boston was licensed to operate as an administered banking unit without having a physical presence on the island.

    Re-exports from the United States via Cyprus have become increasingly significant, with the trade worth an estimated $300 to 400 million.

    "Cyprus all of a sudden has become more important to the (United) States than ever perceived before, and Holbrooke understands our economy better," the analyst said.

    He added that Cyprus's greater economic importance to America would also bring about a shift in the political arena.

    "The political implications are interesting and we could see a re- assessment in the long run."

    The US embassy in Nicosia declined to comment on the story yesterday.

    [02] More stolen Cypriot artefacts found in Germany

    By Andrew Adamides

    GERMAN police have found a further 15 to 20 boxes and suitcases filled with stolen Cypriot artefacts in the same Munich apartment block where a hoard of religious icons was discovered last week, Attorney-general Alecos Markides said yesterday.

    In the original swoop on October 10, 14 crates of icons were found hidden behind false walls and ceilings in an apartment belonging to Turk Dikman Aydin, 60, a permanent resident of Munich.

    The new finds came to light on Thursday after German police went back to the building for another search. In the basement they discovered icons, frescoes, ancient pottery, coins and ancient bibles, as well as parts of the frescoes belonging to the Antiphonitis monastery in occupied Kyrenia.

    Police also searched the penthouse, where they found $16,000 and 200,000 Dutch Florins.

    The contents of the first hoard, which was found after a tip-off from Cypriot security services, have now been entered into a 24-page catalogue. They are thought to be worth around $46 million. One mosaic, from the Kanakaria Church in Lythrangomi, is worth £4.3 million alone.

    Aydin, who claims to be an archaeologist, is believed to have been selling artefacts on the black market for years. He faces a possible 15-year sentence if convicted of trading in stolen artefacts.

    The icons and other treasures will be returned to the Greek Orthodox Church after his trial, German authorities said.

    [03] Rain traps villagers

    HEAVY rains yesterday caused chaos in the Larnaca village of Troullon.

    Mudslides blocked access roads, trapping many old people inside their homes.

    Mukhtar Mammas Alexiou alerted Athienou police who despatched two rescue teams to the village.

    After what were described as "superhuman" efforts lasting hours, the police were able to finally free the villagers.

    [04] Massive security operation for tomorrow's Aeroporos trial

    By Charlie Charalambous

    ONE of the biggest security operations ever seen for a trial will take place in Nicosia on Monday.

    Over 100 policemen and special forces units will surround the Nicosia district courthouse to protect witnesses in the Antonis Fanieros attempted murder trial.

    Charged with the attack outside Fanieros' nightclub are members of notorious Limassol clan Panicos, Hambis and Andreas Aeroporos.

    The chief prosecution witness is Tassos Simellides, 28, who will be under tight police guard for fear there might be an attempt on his life to stop him giving crucial evidence.

    Simellides has implicated all three Aeroporos brothers in the May 29 drive- by shooting in which Fanieros was seriously injured.

    Simellides is serving a nine-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to his part in the attack. He told police he was driving the motorbike used in the drive-by attack while Panicos Aeroporos, riding pillion, pulled the trigger.

    He also claims it was Panicos who shot at police officers after the incident.

    The three brothers deny charges of conspiracy to murder and shooting at police officers.

    It is understood police have received information that witnesses could be targeted during the trial and have taken the necessary measures.

    Police are keeping Simellides' whereabouts and route to the court a tightly guarded secret.

    It is also reported that as part of an extra security measure Simellides could also appear in court wearing a bullet proof vest.

    As an added precaution all visitors to the courthouse will be searched, and the authorities have already installed a steel partition sealing off the area where the trial will take place.

    Police HQ top brass have surveyed the court grounds and drawn a detailed map of the area.

    Causing a further security headache is the fact that Simellides' testimony could take up to two weeks, increasing the risk of him being targeted.

    [05] Fisherman missing at sea

    By Andrew Adamides

    POLICE were last night still searching for Larnaca fisherman Christakis Xenophontas, 35, who disappeared at sea on Friday night.

    At 6pm on Friday, Xenophontas, from Dromolaxia, left his home and headed out to sea in his 3ft unpowered fishing vessel, the Solea, to cast his nets 20 to 30 feet off the coast of Meneou.

    He was seen in the area by a local restaurant owner, Panicos Chrysanthou and was expected back at around 8pm.

    His family became worried when he failed to return, and contacted his father-in-law who found Xenophontas' car containing personal effects parked by the quayside.

    The family then informed police, who began a search of the area using two patrol boats and a helicopter. The search went on for several hours before being called off and was resumed early yesterday morning, when police were joined in their efforts by local fishermen.

    At around 9am yesterday, Xenophontas' boat was found empty, drifting 12 miles off Larnaca bay, having been carried along the coast by the wind. It was towed in by police.

    Larnaca Police Chief Andreas Stavrou said the search would continue both on land and at sea, and police divers would also begin sweeping the area. He added that there was still hope Xenophontas could be found alive, as he was thought to be wearing either a wetsuit or a life jacket.

    [06] Hunger strike bomber rushed to hospital

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A CONVICTED Palestinian bomber on hunger strike was rushed to hospital yesterday after his condition worsened.

    But police denied reports that Omar Hawillo, 31, was in a coma as a result of his 12-day hunger strike.

    A police spokesman told the Cyprus Mail that Hawillo, 31, had complained of being unwell and was seen by a doctor at Nicosia General hospital.

    Following an examination, Hawillo was returned to a holding cell at Nicosia Central prison, the spokesman said.

    Hawillo is on hunger strike in protest at being kept in custody after he was officially released from jail last year after serving eight years of a 15-year sentence.

    The Palestinian is being kept in the holding cells because the authorities cannot find a country which will accept him.

    Fears are growing that Hawillo's health could deteriorate even further if he continues to take only water.

    Deputy Attorney-general Loukis Loucaides backs Hawillo's campaign for freedom, arguing that he cannot be kept in detention, even if there is no country willing to receive him.

    Hawillo has gone on hunger strike twice before.

    He was convicted for a bungled 1988 bomb attack on the Israeli embassy in Nicosia which killed three people.

    A jeep rigged with explosives, driven by Hawillo's suspected accomplice, exploded on a busy bridge killing the driver and two bystanders. Some 19 people were also injured.

    Minutes before the blast, Israeli security had twice prevented the vehicle from parking.

    [07] Sudden boom in property market

    By Martin Hellicar

    AFTER months of "drought", the real estate market has shown a huge upturn over the past six weeks, sources in the industry have said.

    "For six months, the market was stagnant, but since the end of the August holidays we have done as much business as we did in the whole previous six months put together," an estate agent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Cyprus Mail.

    He said the collapse of the UN-led Cyprus settlement talks could have helped stimulate the boom in the real estate market.

    "People were hearing talk of a solution and thought prices might drop if the occupied areas became free. When people saw this was not going to happen, they started buying again," he said.

    The estate agent also said the months of slump in the market had pushed prices down, encouraging customers to now take a chance.

    "People are being more decisive now, the low prices are pushing them to try things," he said.

    However, he said the tension created by the recent reports of massive intrusions into Cyprus and Greek air space by Turkish warplanes, during the National Guard's Nikiforos war games, could adversely effect the market.

    He said the generally held belief in the industry was that the last slump had been sparked by Turks killing two Greek Cypriot anti-occupation protesters in the Dherynia buffer-zone area last Summer.

    "The slump we have just come out of began with last Summer's events," he said.

    But tourism, also affected by the Summer's violence, was now doing better and this had had a knock-on effect on other sectors of the economy, the estate agent said.

    The sudden boom has not, however, been echoed in the real estate development sector, the estate agent said.

    "Developers are not doing well, in the coastal areas - Limassol and Larnaca, in particular - the situation is miserable," he said.

    No comment was available from developers, but the estate agent said a recent dramatic drop in rent prices was possibly behind the continuing slump in the building market.

    "Developers selling flats are being affected because prices for rents are currently very low as there is plenty of supply and not much demand. So people would rather rent a flat then buy one," the estate agent said.

    But he said the low rental prices were good news for estate agents, as plenty of customers were now in for rented homes.

    [08] Prison warden `let inmates use his mobile phone'

    A PRISON warden faces disciplinary action for a `softly-softly' approach to inmates which included lending them his mobile phone.

    It is understood that the order to investigate was given by the Central Prison governor after it was alleged the warden was offering them a mobile phone service.

    Only a few days ago Justice Minister Nicos Koshis hit out at "fifth columnists" undermining security at the Central Prison.

    According to information received by Koshis and the prison administration, at least six outside calls were made by convicts on a mobile phone belonging to the warden.

    Recently another four wardens were given a stern ticking off for fraternising with inmates.

    Prison rules prohibit any warden accepting anything from prisoners, even a cigarette, and visitors have been barred from bringing in mobile phones to friends or relatives inside.

    [09] Price of milk shoots up

    THE COMMERCE Ministry has announced that the price of milk will rise by 5 cents a litre, a 28 per cent increase which takes the price of a one litre carton to 40, cents and that of a half litre to 21 cents.

    The rises will come into effect on November 1.

    The price of wholesale milk will also go up, with that of milk for pasteurisation rising by 3.5 cents a litre. Milk destined for cheese production, meanwhile, will go up by 0.6 cents a litre. This could result in an increase in the price of other dairy produce.

    The increase in the price of milk for cheese makers comes in the wake of a recent dispute which saw cheese factories threaten a lockout if milk prices rose by more than they were willing to pay.

    Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, the ministry also said that the price of fresh potatoes had been liberalised and would remain unregulated until November 1.

    The ministry said this move was due to the fact that potato production was significantly down this year, and liberalisation would allow producers to cut losses.

    After November 1, however, price regulation will be reinstated as there will be more potatoes on the market.

    The ministry said that by this time last year, 160,000 tonnes of potatoes had been exported as opposed to only 19,000 this year.

    [10] Man dies of crash injuries

    AN 86-year-old man has died from injuries sustained in a car crash.

    Yiorgios Kamilaris from Aspres died in Nicosia General Hospital yesterday morning. He had been injured in an accident on Nicosia's Troodos Road on Friday morning.

    [11] Gruelling triathlon for cancer charities

    AN EIGHT-member team from the United Nations British contingent is set to take part in the Troodos Triathlon beginning on Wednesday October 29.

    They will be participating in aid of three cancer charities, the locally based Cyprus Anti-Cancer Society as well as the Help Cancer Charity and UK Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust.

    The triathlon will see the team attempting to cycle in relay from the UN Protected Area (UNPA) in Nicosia to the summit of Mount Olympus. They will then run back to the UNPA swimming pool and finally complete a gruelling swim of ninety lengths.

    Sponsorship information is available on 02-359760 ext. 133 or 02-359109.

    [12] Apollonas victory keeps 100 per cent record on track

    A STRONG second half performance by Apollonas was enough to brush aside Anagennisis 4-1 yesterday in Limassol and maintain the home side's 100 per cent league record.

    It was Apollonas' fourth successive win. Apoel who were playing last night and Anorthosis who play today, also had maximum points, but from three games.

    Ethnikos Achna, playing at Antonis Papadopoulos stadium because of a home ban, scored their first win of the season - a 4-1 victory over Salamina in which Mousic scored a hat-trick.

    Omonia returned to their winning ways when they defeated promoted side, Evagoras 2-0 in Nicosia. In Paphos, Ael scored in injury time to secure a point in an exciting 3-3 draw against Apop.

    Apollonas were disappointing in the first half, even after a Marios Charalambous header had put the in front. It was level at the interval, Gondolan scoring Anagennisis' equaliser.

    In the second half, Apollonas laid siege to the visitors' goalmouth and just before the hour Georgiou game them the lead again. Michelic, scoring his first goal of the season added the third, while Spoliaric converted a penalty in the dying seconds. It was the Serb's fourth of the season.

    Ethnikos gave Salamina a view of their intentions as early as the second minute when summer signing Panikos Neocleous found the target. Mousic, returning from injury, then hit a hat-trick within a 10-minute period, from the 34th minute.

    Kokos Elia replied for Salamina early in the second half, but Ethnikos were worth their points.

    Omonia played like a side which had lost its previous two games. They settled down after Raufman had converted an 18th minute penalty, but could have been in trouble again, a little later.

    However Evagoras' Dragisic put the ball wide from the spot, for a penalty awarded after Pachtalias had been brought down. Omonia's fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when Gitanov doubled the score in the 66th minute.

    Ael twice took the lead against Apop, but in the end were happy to leave Paphos with point. The equaliser was scored by Neophytou in the second minute of injury time.

    Agathocleous had given them the lead, but Sophocleous levelled. Neophytou put them in front in the second half, but goals by Petrou and Arsene Michailovic, appeared to have earned Apop's third win of the season.

    Today, Anorthosis are at home to Ethnikos Ashias, who have yet to earn a point in their first ever season in the first division. Paralimni are at home to the league's other pointless side, Alki.

    © Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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