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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-09-10

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Thursday, September 10, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bishop will give the money back
  • [02] Criminal investigator to probe bishop's role in scam
  • [03] Demonstrators threaten to join Apostolos Andreas pilgrimage
  • [04] Denktash says abyss is getting deeper
  • [05] Parties meet into the night in effort to avert hotel strike
  • [06] Greek man accused of indecent assault on British girl
  • [07] Potato growers plead for help as debts mount
  • [08] Police find car linked to Aeroporos murder
  • [09] Health co-operation plan with Israel
  • [10] Man remanded over Maltezos shooting
  • [11] World Champion Karpov in Paphos
  • [12] It's a good place to live

  • [01] Bishop will give the money back

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A CONTROVERSIAL 1.4 million land deal between the Electricity Authority (EAC) and the Limassol Bishopric was cancelled yesterday after the personal intervention of President Clerides, taking the heat out of an increasingly bitter row between Church and State.

    Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis came out of yesterday's meeting of the Council of Ministers to announce that Bishop Chrysanthos of Limassol was ready to return the money paid for the land, thus cancelling the land deal.

    "It has been agreed that the bishop will pay back the money: 1.1 million will be returned in cash and the remaining 300,000 will be returned in the form of land and property, which we will evaluate ourselves," Rolandis said after the cabinet meeting.

    "The Archbishop told the president that seeing there was a large difference in the value of the land he was ready to return the money and take back the land."

    The minister has claimed that around 300,000 - out of the 1.4 million paid - has mysteriously disappeared from the deposit account of the Limassol Bishopric into other accounts.

    He alleges that 72,000 of this went to a middleman who was paid commission for the deal.

    The unholy row has taken an increasingly bitter turn since Rolandis condemned the 1.4 million Mesa Yeitonia land deal which the EAC concluded with the bishopric; two separate evaluations ordered by the minister have put the land's market price at no more than 700,000-800,000.

    The Church land was bought by the Electricity Authority to accommodate its new Limassol headquarters, but Rolandis has claimed the area is completely useless for that purpose.

    According to town planning authorities, only 13 per cent of the total area could be used for building offices, as the plot is located within a residential zone and has a huge water pipeline running beneath it.

    On Monday, Rolandis demanded that Bishop Chrysanthos return the difference on the value of the land; the bishop rejected such a move out of hand.

    The bishop has now made a complete about-face after President Clerides first called Archbishop Chrysostomos in a bid to resolve the issue, then made a phone call to the Limassol bishop himself.

    Electricity Authority chairman Costas Constantinides defended his board's actions over the transaction - which allegedly cost the state 610,000 over the odds - before Tuesday's House Watchdog Committee.

    Rolandis accused the board of "serious negligence" for taking the Limassol Bishopric's evaluation at face value, and the government is still examining whether they have a case to answer.

    The deal was officially cancelled later yesterday afternoon after a meeting between Rolandis and Chrysanthos at the Commerce Ministry in Nicosia.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [02] Criminal investigator to probe bishop's role in scam

    By Charlie Charalambous

    INVESTIGATIONS into the Limassol bishop's multi-million pound financial dealings took a new turn yesterday, with the appointment of a criminal investigator to probe an alleged $1.5 million investment scam against two Portuguese investors, in parallel with an ongoing police probe.

    Government spokesman Christos Stylianides announced that Central Bank official Kyriacos Zingas had been appointed to investigate the case on the advice of Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    But in an interview on CyBC television yesterday afternoon, Bishop Chrysanthos said he was innocent of any crime.

    "I believe I did nothing illegal in my efforts to raise money for charity," Chrysanthos said in the interview.

    "In the end the truth will shine."

    On Tuesday, Cyprus police issued an international arrest warrant against American national Nina Petrou, thought to be a major player in the financial dealings of Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos.

    Police want to question her in connection with the Portuguese case, in which two investors claim they were swindled out of $1.5 million by the bishop.

    But the bishop has denied that any of the Portuguese investors' money has gone missing.

    "No money has disappeared, no money 'just goes missing', the money must be in a bank account somewhere."

    In the CyBC interview, Chrysanthos admitted to knowing Nina Petrou, saying she had approached him two years ago to help raise money for the Church.

    He said the investment deal with the Portuguese had been struck with his US lawyer, Lewis Rivlin, and that the investment cycle concerned an amount of $10 million, which had not been forthcoming from the investors.

    Despite his insistence that his only interest was to raise money for the Church, Chrysanthos admitted to CyBC that the Holy Synod had not been fully aware of his financial activities.

    Markides said yesterday there was no reason for an arrest warrant to be issued against Chrysanthos, but warned this did not mean he had no case to answer in the Portuguese scandal.

    "At the moment, the bishop is still considered a suspect," Markides said yesterday.

    "The police investigation, under my auspices, is continuing as speedily as possible," he added; "but it depends on the collection of evidence from other countries."

    As part of wider police investigations against the bishop - he has been connected to around 30 allegations of fraudulent financial schemes - detectives will be sent to the United Kingdom, Greece, Belgium, Portugal, and the United States to collect evidence from various banks.

    In yesterday's interview, Chrysanthos also suggested that he may have been an unwitting victim of fraudulent associates.

    "I have met many groups, and when some of them hear the large sums of money involved they flock like vultures over a corpse."

    According to court depositions in Washington, Lewis Rivlin has estimated the wealth of the Limassol Bishopric in the region of $1.5 billion.

    Chrysanthos, although calm and collected during his TV interview, did reveal the bitterness he felt about being tried by the media.

    "It is not without sadness and pain that I have endured the past two months in which I have been portrayed as guilty by the media."

    And he claimed many had ulterior motives in dragging his name through the mud.

    "Now it's a war against the Church, an effort to damage its power and reputation."

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [03] Demonstrators threaten to join Apostolos Andreas pilgrimage

    By Jean Christou

    DEMONSTRATORS will forcibly join over 1,000 pilgrims given permission to visit the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in occupied Karpasia on Sunday.

    Anti-occupation group Pak said yesterday that if, as the government has said, the pilgrims are allowed to cross freely, then there is no reason why others who wish to cross cannot do so as well.

    The threat comes two days ago the organisation asked President Clerides and Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos to stop the trip from going ahead.

    But now Pak is saying its supporters will also cross to the north, and are calling on anyone who wants to visit Apostolos Andreas on Sunday to join them in Nicosia.

    At a press conference at the Ledra Palace checkpoint yesterday, Pak chief Aris Hadjipanayiotou said it was the human right of every Cypriot citizen to visit any monastery at any time, particularly since the government said there were no restrictions.

    However, in reality the terms are that a list of 1,100 has been set for those allowed to go, and the lack of restrictions means only that a visa levy will not be imposed on those named on the list, nor will they have to sign entry papers.

    "If they don't let us go, then Mr Christopoulos did not tell the truth," Hadjipanayiotou said. "The people who are going are misguided and they are being used because of their religious beliefs."

    He said that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had an ulterior motive in allowing Greek Cypriots to cross to the north.

    He also condemned the Turkish Cypriot side for not allowing the government to repair the dilapidated monastery.

    Diko deputy Marios Matsakis, who also attended the press conference, yesterday said he was "thrilled" with Pak's plan.

    "Those that want to go should come with their own cars and motorcycles," he said. "We also warmly thank the government for sending Mmad (riot police) so that they too can come with us."

    Asked if there would be any violence on Sunday, Matsakis said he did not believe so.

    Sunday's will be the third such visit in the past 18 months. Over 6,000 people have applied for the pilgrimage.

    Some 10,000 applications were received for 600 places on last year's November 30 trip, and around 3,000 for the first trip on August 15 1997.

    A similar trip arranged for Easter Sunday this year never went ahead due to the insistence of the Turkish Cypriot side on imposing 'visa fees' and the Greek Cypriot side's refusal to pay.

    The trips are allowed by the Turkish Cypriot side in return for Turkish Cypriots being allowed to visit the Kokkina enclave and the Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca, one of Islam's holiest shrines.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [04] Denktash says abyss is getting deeper

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has no intention of leaving his confederation proposal open forever, and this is something the Greek side should be aware of, according to Turkish media reports yesterday.

    Speaking at a ceremony held in occupied Akheritou to commemorate the mystery shooting there two years ago of a Turkish soldier, Denktash said any "new attack on the TRNC" would only end up expanding its "borders".

    "If the Greek Cypriots want to live with us as neighbours in Cyprus, they should know that they do not have the right to point even a pen towards the Turkish people in the north, let alone fire weapons."

    Denktash went on to say that the Greek side should recognise the Turkish Cypriots as "the owner of our own state" as well as respecting their "equality" and "sovereignty".

    He also hinted at impending permanent division, warning that "the walls between us are getting higher. The abyss between us is getting deeper. The possibilities of reunification are fading."

    As a result of this, he said the Greek side should assess his confederation proposal carefully, even though he had not "come to believe" that the Greek side had given up their policy of "savagery and hostility" toward the Turks and their desire to turn Cyprus into a Hellenic island."

    "We insist on the recognition of our state, which is based on the blood we have shed for our freedom." Denktash added.

    He said there could be no discussion of the confederation as the basis for talks, and that it was the only foundation on which further discussions could be based.

    If it was turned down, he warned, then the Greek side could continue to arm itself, but "no matter how huge an arms depot you turn the south into, you are condemned to be crushed by a 65-million-strong Turkey."

    "If you have enough sense, you should assess well our latest proposal, which our motherland supports and will support to the very end." he concluded.

    In his address, Denktash also attacked the United Nations Security Council, saying he was "saddened" that the UN regarded the Clerides government as the legitimate government.

    "The Security Council should now adopt a decision on the realities of Cyprus, the legal situation and human rights," Denktash demanded. "Otherwise the present situation will continue."

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [05] Parties meet into the night in effort to avert hotel strike

    By Athena Karsera

    PARTIES in the hotel dispute were meeting into the night yesterday in an eleventh-hour bid to avoid crippling strike action, due to start this morning if no solution is found.

    Labour Minister Andreas Moushiouttas was holding talks last night with employers organisations Oev and Keve, as well as representatives of hoteliers' associations Pasyxe and Stek in an attempt to break the deadlock over the renewal of collective agreements in the industry.

    But unions representing hotel workers, who met the minister earlier in the day, last night warned they would go ahead with strike action this morning if there no "positive message" came out of the talks.

    Earlier in the day, Peo's Yiannakis Phillipou said strike action would take place at several hotels in each town, leaving only a skeleton staff to serve customers, "those giving information, maintenance staff".

    Unions demands include higher pay, longer maternity leave and higher contributions to medical funds.

    A Pasyxe proposal put to Moushiouttas on Tuesday has been rejected by hotel workers.

    The proposal suggested the dividing of 38 working hours over six days, as opposed to a five-day schedule.

    Unions have agreed to working on a sixth day if compensated on a one to one ratio, to be paid in time off, not money.

    But they rejected a suggestion to pay employees working on important holidays, such as Christmas, Easter and the New Year, on a scale of three to one.

    Rejected too, was Pasyxe's proposal for one twelfth of employees' monthly service allowance, equivalent to 10 per cent of their salaries, to be used towards their thirteenth salary.

    The unions also refused to countenance the idea of hotels discontinuing the current practice of the government paying three-quarters of off-season salaries, with hotels paying the remainder.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [06] Greek man accused of indecent assault on British girl

    A GREEK man was yesterday charged with indecent assault against a seven- year-old English girl on holiday in Cyprus.

    Alexandros Alexandritis, 39, from Xanthi in Greece, was released on 2,000 bail, police said, after being charged in camera by a Limassol court.

    "He will answer the charge on September 15," a Limassol police spokesman said.

    The alleged assault took place on August 31 in the grounds of the luxury hotel in Potamia Yermasoyia, where she was staying with her parents.

    According to reports from Limassol, several complaints had been made about an unidentified man lurking around the hotel, making indecent gestures and touching children.

    The alleged assault of the little English girl was the last in a long line of such complaints. When she told her parents what had happened on August 31, they immediately filed a complaint with police.

    Alexandritis was arrested on Tuesday night after being spotted by his victim in the vicinity of the five-star hotel.

    According to Limassol police, the girl ran crying to her parents, saying "that's the man who touched me".

    The family will remain in Cyprus pending the outcome of the case.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [07] Potato growers plead for help as debts mount

    DROUGHT-HIT potato growers are seeking a showdown with President Clerides over what they claim is a major crisis in the industry.

    Once dubbed the success story of the island's export trade, growers say a punishing two-year drought has plunged the Cyprus potato into obscurity.

    Farming unions say potato production has slumped this season, with yields of export grade potatoes only reaching 80,000 tons, instead of the projected 125,000 tons.

    And although Britain is the top destination for grade A Cyprus potatoes, growers say only 20,000 tons have this year been sold to the UK market.

    The price of production has also been high, with producers only receiving 132 per ton against costs of 500 per ton.

    Potato growers blame the drought and dwindling exports for industry losses of 8 million.

    And agricultural organisations are calling on the government to write off their state loans and offer a financial package to enable growers to survive.

    The Pek and Eka agricultural organisations argue that potato producers owe Co-operative banks a total of around 2 billion - up from pre-drought figures of 700 million.

    But the long-term future of the industry looks even bleaker, with unions saying more and more people are abandoning rural life for more secure urban jobs.

    Only 0.9 per cent of people aged under 25 are employed in the potato growing sector.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [08] Police find car linked to Aeroporos murder

    LIMASSOL police believe they have found the car used by the gunmen in the August 1 murder of Andros Aeroporos.

    Aeroporos, 32, a member of the notorious Kolossi clan, was gunned down outside a Limassol cabaret on July 31.

    A 19-year old Ukrainian artiste, Olena Kulyk, was also hit by two bullets in the 3.20am machine-gun attack in Yermasoyia.

    She was released from hospital on Tuesday.

    Aeroporos, a father of two, was shot from a car as he left the Show Palace cabaret. Witnesses said two hooded men were involved in the attack.

    The car found by police outside a Limassol hotel yesterday, just three blocks from the scene of the crime, was identified as a blue Mazda stolen from a local showroom on July 10.

    A burned out Mazda was also found near Moutayiakka immediately after the murder. It had been stolen from the same showroom, police said.

    They believe the murderer was a Ukrainian hired to kill Aeroporos.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [09] Health co-operation plan with Israel

    VISITING Israeli Health Minister Joshua Matza will today sign a co- operation plan on health and medicine with his Cypriot counterpart Christos Solomis.

    The plan is aimed at enhancing all areas of medical co-operation between the two countries.

    Matza arrived in Cyprus yesterday for a four-day visit. Speaking on arrival, he said Cypriot patients would continue to be treated in Israel, a popular medical destination, and that he intended to invite Solomis to visit the country soon.

    For his part, Solomis said there existed friendly relations between Cyprus and Israel, adding that "we have an inter-state agreement and a common development programme on issues which we could develop further."

    These developments, he added, could include co-operation on issues such as medical scholarships and the training of nursing staff.

    Matza yesterday toured the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, as well as old Nicosia and the Green Line.

    Today he will meet with President Glafcos Clerides and House President Spyros Kyprianou. He will also hold talks with Solomis before the signing of the co-operation treaty.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [10] Man remanded over Maltezos shooting

    A NICOSIA man was remanded for eight days yesterday on suspicion of attempted murder.

    Christos Loizou Tianias, 32, a butcher from Paliometocho, was arrested on Tuesday night after allegedly shooting Andreas Maltezos, 43, from Tseri. Maltezos was found by two soldiers in a field near Kountourouthkia.

    He was bleeding heavily from the leg and is believed to have been left for dead after sustaining two bullet wounds.

    Police said Maltezos had been a key witness in a recent case of smuggling from the occupied areas.

    The shotgun which had been used in the attack was allegedly found in the suspect's car.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [11] World Champion Karpov in Paphos

    WORLD Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov yesterday hosted a Paphos seminar aimed at boosting the concept of Cyprus as a regional chess centre.

    The idea of Cyprus as the King of the Eastern Mediterranean's chess world is being backed by the Mediterranean Chess Club and the Cyprus Chess Federation.

    As well as the conference on the game at the Paphos Amathus Beach Hotel, the event also included a simultaneous chess exhibition match, played by Karpov against six opponents, and a cocktail reception.

    As part of the attempt to raise Cyprus' chess profile, the conference aims not only to host international chess matches here, but also for Karpov to set up a chess academy on the island. The conference was also attended by members of both organisations and Oleg Evdokimov, President of the chess- supporting Saint Petersburg Botvink Fund.

    Thursday, September 10, 1998

    [12] It's a good place to live

    CYPRUS has been placed 23rd in the United Nations Development Programme's annual "Human Development Index".

    The survey, the results of which were released yesterday, ranks countries in terms of its citizens' life expectancy, income and education.

    Countries ranked below Cyprus include Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malta, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, which came in at 69. Greece was placed 20th.

    Canada came first, followed by France. The US was fourth, behind Norway, while the UK came 14th, just ahead of Australia and Switzerland.

    Last on the list of 174 countries was war-torn Sierra Leone.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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