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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-09-16

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

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


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Thursday, September 16, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Central Bank boss on Louis shares listBy Hamza Hendawi Business EditorA LIST of recipients of Louis Cruise Lines' private placement shares shows Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou, Akel deputy Takis Hadjigeorgiou and several senior civil servants to have been on the receiving end of the company's generosity.That someone like Afxentiou, who is the supreme guardian of the island's economy and currency, and top civil servants in key posts are now known to have received shares in Louis' private placement is likely to deepen the controversy surrounding the company since its eagerly-awaited debut on the Cyprus Stock Exchange early last month.Afxentiou, who is listed as having received 5,000 worth of shares in the private placement, declined to make any comment when reached by the Cyprus Mailyesterday afternoon. "I am not prepared to make any comment, at least for the time being," he said.The inclusion of Hadjigeorgiou on the list obtained by the Mailis equally significant since opposition communist Akel, the second largest political party in Cyprus, has taken the moral high ground, reacting with considerable indignation to revelations last month that Disy and the opposition Diko party of House Speaker Spyros Kyprianou received hundreds of thousands of shares in the private placement.Hadjigeorgiou, who runs the party's Astra radio, did not return calls by the Mailseeking his comment. According to the list, he received 10,000 worth of shares in Louis.Other names on the list obtained by the Cyprus Mailinclude Director of Customs Andis Tryphonides (20,000), Panicos Pouros, director of the Finance Ministry's Planning Bureau (10, 000), Costakis Christophorou, director of the House of Representatives (10, 000), Michael Erotokritos, director of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (10,000), and Takis Kanaris, head of the research department at the Central Bank (12,000).The graft and sleaze allegations now swirling around Louis and segments of the island's political and bureaucratic establishments have replaced the high expectations and confidence which greeted the Louis flotation, once touted as the most successful in the history of the Cyprus Stock Exchange.Peculiarly, everyone touched by the allegations, including Louis Cruise Lines, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades and Kyprianou, appears hung on the misleading argument that they did not break any law in accepting thousands of shares at 40 cents apiece, which made gains of up to 700 per cent on the first day of trading.Questions of political ethics, moral integrity and the argument for the need to maintain a safe distance between big business and politicians have been left for newspaper columnists and commentators to dwell on.It was only this week that Clerides decreed it would be a sacking offence for any Cabinet minister to accept shares in public companies as part of a private placement. He is also seeking legal advice from the Attorney-general's office on a similar ban covering government employees.The President acted following disclosures earlier this week that former Communications Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou had secured more than 50,000 shares in Louis as part of the private placement. The minister resigned from his post last month to take up an academic job, but denied that his acquisition of the shares was connected to the granting early this year of a licence to Louis to start a charter airline.However, Vassos Pyrgos, permanent under-secretary at the ministry, was found to have been among the fortunate ones with private placement shares worth 5,000. He too denied any wrongdoing. Pyrgos heads the ministry's air transport committee, which granted the Louis licence.Louis Cruise Lines, one of the world's largest cruise ship operators, has so far stuck to its line that it did not expect a return on its "gesture" towards politicians and civil servants. But it has never attempted in its statements or in remarks by top officials to answer the questions: Why did it choose to include politicians, major political parties and top civil servants in key positions in its private placement list? And why has it so far resisted pressure to make public the original private placement list?Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos, fending off accusations, yesterday demanded that the names of those who obtained shares as part of the private placement be published in full. He insists that his Louis shares were purchased in the Initial Public Offering.The Louis private placement was worth 8.95 million, while its Initial Public Offering amounted to 9.5 million. The IPO was oversubscribed 53 times, prompting the company to give out shares on a pro ratabasis, thus leaving small investors with about 1.7 per cent of what they bid for.The pro ratasystem also favoured those with financial muscle who were able to produce huge sums up front in order to secure a decent number of shares.Adding insult to the injury of small investors was the dumping by two top Louis executives of tens of thousands of shares on the first day of trading, an action that forced the price sharply down, and the revelations later about those who benefited from the private placement.The list obtained by the Cyprus Mailalso includes Harach Publications Ltd., which publishes the English-language weekly newspaper Financial Mirror (20,000 worth of shares), and the Dias Group, publishers of the pro-Disy daily newspaper Simerini(12,500 worth).The Mirrorran several articles extolling the virtues of Louis Cruise Lines before its titles made their market debut last month. The newspaper also came out strongly in defence of the company when the two executives sold shares and warrants on the first day of trading. Simerinihas also run a series of positive reports on Louis shares.
  • [02] Three days of mourning for Yiannos Kranidiotis
  • [03] Parties united in sorrow
  • [04] Yiannos Kranidiotis: a rising star in Greek politics
  • [05] Genaris recovering from heart attack brought on by news of Kranidiotis deathNEWS of the tragic death of Greek deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis apparently caused one of the island's best-know political correspondents to have a heart attack.Costas Genaris, a veteran Cyprus problem reporter for the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC), was yesterday recovering in hospital after suffering a cardiac episode late on Tuesday night. His condition was described as stable.Kranidiotis died when the plane in which he was travelling to Bucharest plunged 23,000 feet on Tuesday night.
  • [06] Murder trial resumes with mobile phone fiasco

  • [01] Central Bank boss on Louis shares listBy Hamza Hendawi Business EditorA LIST of recipients of Louis Cruise Lines' private placement shares shows Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou, Akel deputy Takis Hadjigeorgiou and several senior civil servants to have been on the receiving end of the company's generosity.That someone like Afxentiou, who is the supreme guardian of the island's economy and currency, and top civil servants in key posts are now known to have received shares in Louis' private placement is likely to deepen the controversy surrounding the company since its eagerly-awaited debut on the Cyprus Stock Exchange early last month.Afxentiou, who is listed as having received 5,000 worth of shares in the private placement, declined to make any comment when reached by the Cyprus Mailyesterday afternoon. "I am not prepared to make any comment, at least for the time being," he said.The inclusion of Hadjigeorgiou on the list obtained by the Mailis equally significant since opposition communist Akel, the second largest political party in Cyprus, has taken the moral high ground, reacting with considerable indignation to revelations last month that Disy and the opposition Diko party of House Speaker Spyros Kyprianou received hundreds of thousands of shares in the private placement.Hadjigeorgiou, who runs the party's Astra radio, did not return calls by the Mailseeking his comment. According to the list, he received 10,000 worth of shares in Louis.Other names on the list obtained by the Cyprus Mailinclude Director of Customs Andis Tryphonides (20,000), Panicos Pouros, director of the Finance Ministry's Planning Bureau (10,000), Costakis Christophorou, director of the House of Representatives (10,000), Michael Erotokritos, director of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (10,000), and Takis Kanaris, head of the research department at the Central Bank (12,000).The graft and sleaze allegations now swirling around Louis and segments of the island's political and bureaucratic establishments have replaced the high expectations and confidence which greeted the Louis flotation, once touted as the most successful in the history of the Cyprus Stock Exchange.Peculiarly, everyone touched by the allegations, including Louis Cruise Lines, Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades and Kyprianou, appears hung on the misleading argument that they did not break any law in accepting thousands of shares at 40 cents apiece, which made gains of up to 700 per cent on the first day of trading.Questions of political ethics, moral integrity and the argument for the need to maintain a safe distance between big business and politicians have been left for newspaper columnists and commentators to dwell on.It was only this week that Clerides decreed it would be a sacking offence for any Cabinet minister to accept shares in public companies as part of a private placement. He is also seeking legal advice from the Attorney-general's office on a similar ban covering government employees.The President acted following disclosures earlier this week that former Communications Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou had secured more than 50,000 shares in Louis as part of the private placement. The minister resigned from his post last month to take up an academic job, but denied that his acquisition of the shares was connected to the granting early this year of a licence to Louis to start a charter airline.However, Vassos Pyrgos, permanent under-secretary at the ministry, was found to have been among the fortunate ones with private placement shares worth 5,000. He too denied any wrongdoing. Pyrgos heads the ministry's air transport committee, which granted the Louis licence.Louis Cruise Lines, one of the world's largest cruise ship operators, has so far stuck to its line that it did not expect a return on its "gesture" towards politicians and civil servants. But it has never attempted in its statements or in remarks by top officials to answer the questions: Why did it choose to include politicians, major political parties and top civil servants in key positions in its private placement list? And why has it so far resisted pressure to make public the original private placement list?Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos, fending off accusations, yesterday demanded that the names of those who obtained shares as part of the private placement be published in full. He insists that his Louis shares were purchased in the Initial Public Offering.The Louis private placement was worth 8.95 million, while its Initial Public Offering amounted to 9.5 million. The IPO was oversubscribed 53 times, prompting the company to give out shares on a pro ratabasis, thus leaving small investors with about 1.7 per cent of what they bid for.The pro ratasystem also favoured those with financial muscle who were able to produce huge sums up front in order to secure a decent number of shares.Adding insult to the injury of small investors was the dumping by two top Louis executives of tens of thousands of shares on the first day of trading, an action that forced the price sharply down, and the revelations later about those who benefited from the private placement.The list obtained by the Cyprus Mailalso includes Harach Publications Ltd., which publishes the English-language weekly newspaper Financial Mirror (20,000 worth of shares), and the Dias Group, publishers of the pro-Disy daily newspaper Simerini(12,500 worth).The Mirrorran several articles extolling the virtues of Louis Cruise Lines before its titles made their market debut last month. The newspaper also came out strongly in defence of the company when the two executives sold shares and warrants on the first day of trading. Simerinihas also run a series of positive reports on Louis shares.

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    Thursday, September 16, 1999

    [02] Three days of mourning for Yiannos Kranidiotis

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS yesterday declared three days of national mourning to mark the tragic death on Tuesday night of Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    Flags flew at half mast all over the island yesterday as Greek Cypriots came to terms with the shock of losing one of their most prominent political exports.

    Tributes poured in from politicians, political parties, municipalities, unions and other organisations on the island. The Cyprus University announced it would close on the day of the funeral and would name one of its buildings after Kranidiotis; it declared a minute's silence before every lecture.

    A book of condolences was opened at the Greek embassy in Nicosia and will remain open until the funeral.

    Speaking from London, President Glafcos Clerides said the death of Kranidiotis, 51, was a "national tragedy" at a crucial time for Cyprus.

    His death left a void because he knew the Cyprus question well and as a Cypriot took a special interest in the island's political problem.

    Kranidiotis has been at the forefront of efforts in Europe to resolve the Cyprus problem and to assist the island in its course towards European Union membership.

    Clerides described Kranidiotis as a "good friend and an excellent diplomat" and said he wished to extend his condolences to his family.

    He said he could not believe he had only seen Kranidiotis earlier on Tuesday afternoon when he met in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis; the president spoke of the "wealth of experience" he brought to all meetings.

    Kranidiotis' only son Nicolas, 23, and four others also died when the plane they were travelling in plunged thousands of feet in an air pocket on its way to Bucharest late on Tuesday night. Seven others, mostly journalists who were accompanying Kranidiotis on the official trip, were injured.

    It was Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides who broke the news to Kranidiotis' ageing mother Chrysso at the family home in Nicosia at 3am yesterday. She flew to Greece early yesterday.

    "I've known him since he was born," Lyssarides said. "He was like my own child."

    He said the feeling of loss was so huge there was no consolation. "And when it's someone you've lived with it's even harder."

    Lyssarides said telling Kranidiotis' mother of the death of her son and grandson was "one of the most tragic and difficult duties I ever carried out".

    The Edek leader was the first to sign the book of condolences at the Greek embassy. "I never thought I would come here to sign the book of condolences for the death of Yiannos Kranidiotis, not even in my most tragic dreams... but unfortunately we have to live with reality, Yiannos has left," he said.

    People from all walks of life crowded to the embassy yesterday to sign the book. Most were clad in black.

    One of the first foreign diplomats to sign the book was Russian ambassador Georgi Muratov, who described Kranidiotis as a "prominent diplomat and significant personality".

    House President and Acting President of the Republic Spyros Kyprianou was also there and said Kranidiotis was a "true patriot who died young but could have given so much".

    Earlier in the day, Kyprianou said Kranidiotis' death was a new tragedy for Greece and Cyprus. "He was a man with a very bright future," he said. "What has happened is unbelievable. Tragedy continues to afflict Hellenism."

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides also spoke of Kranidiotis early yesterday, saying he had contributed greatly to Cyprus' EU accession course. "It's shocking. It is a great loss for Cyprus, for Greece and the nation," said Cassoulides. "He was a valuable and close adviser and we had almost daily telephone conversations with him."

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou expressed similar sentiments and called Kranidiotis a "warrior at the forefront of the battle" on the Cyprus question.

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    Thursday, September 16, 1999

    [03] Parties united in sorrow

    POLITICAL parties on the island yesterday expressed shock and deep sorrow for the untimely death of Greece's deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Kranditiotis.

    Ruling Disy said it was "deeply-shocked" by the tragic death of Cypriot- born Kranidiotis, his son Nicholas and four other people on Wednesday night.

    Disy described Kranidiotis, 51, as a "prominent Cypriot who associated his name with Cyprus". A statement also expressed immense appreciation for his contribution to Cyprus' bid to become a member of the European Union.

    Party leader Nicos Anastassiades, who is Berlin this week, ordered the flags at party headquarters to fly at half mast until the funeral.

    Communist party Akel sent a message of condolences to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressing shock and sorrow.

    "Yiannis Kranidiotis was a sincere friend, consistent and tireless fighter for Cyprus and Hellenism at large," said Akel leader Demetris Christofias. Christofias, who is recovering from a kidney transplant, sent a message from London.

    Akel also sent messages of condolences to the families of the other four victims.

    Diko also issued a statement expressing deep sorrow and added: "Greece has lost an important and wise politician and Cyprus a staunch supporter."

    Diko conveyed deepest condolences to Kranidiotis' family and the Greek government for the vacuum his death has caused.

    Socialist Edek, of whom Kranidiotis was a founding member, said it was greatly distressed by his death.

    Edek described Kranidiotis as a "tireless pioneer fighter" for Cyprus and Greece.

    "The loss is even greater for Cyprus as he backed to the bitter end Cyprus' just cause and was one of the architects of Cyprus' bid to join the European Union," Edek said.

    "We have a duty to continue Kranidiotis' work for Cyprus Hellenism."

    The United Democrats, New Horizons and the Green party also issued statements expressing shock and sorrow.

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    Thursday, September 16, 1999

    [04] Yiannos Kranidiotis: a rising star in Greek politics

    By Athena Karsera

    GREEK Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, tragically killed when the plane in which he was travelling to Bucharest fell thousands of feet just before midnight on Tuesday, was born in Nicosia on September 25, 1947. He would have been 52 next Saturday.

    His parents were both Cypriot and the family retained a home on the island even though they moved to Greece where his father Nicos Kranidiotis served as Cyprus' ambassador to Athens.

    His father died two years ago while his mother, Chryso, was in Cyprus at the time of Tuesday's accident.

    Yiannos Kranidiotis is survived by his ex-wife, Greek Katerina Boura. Their only child Nicholas was one of the five other people killed on board the plane. He was 23.

    Kranidiotis studied law at Athens University before taking a masters degree in International Law and International Relations at Sussex and Harvard Universities. He also obtained a PhD in International Relations at Thrace's Dimokrateio University.

    He spoke fluent English and French as well as his native Greek.

    Playing an active role in university political life, he was made vice- president of the Cypriot student Movement and continued this involvement while studying overseas.

    He then became one of the founding members of the Cypriot socialist party Edek, before returning to Greece in 1976 and joining socialist party Pasok.

    In 1981, he was appointed to the office of special advisor to the Foreign Minister and advisor to the Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou on the Cyprus problem.

    In 1984, he became special secretary to the Foreign Minister on EU issues, a post he held until 1989, when Pasok went into opposition. From 1988 to 1990 was also head of the Greek Centre For European Studies.

    A dual national of Cyprus and Greece, Kranidiotis acted as advisor to the Cypriot government on EU issues between 1991 and 1992, making a significant contribution to the island's EU accession progress.

    When Pasok returned to power in 1993, Kranidiotis became secretary-general of European issues at the Greek Foreign Ministry and in 1994 he was appointed vice-Foreign Minister on European affairs.

    The following year, he was elected to the European parliament where he served until January 1997, resigning his seat to become vice-Foreign Minister.

    On February 18 this year Kranidiotis was promoted to the number two position in Greece's Foreign Ministry, concentrating on European and Cypriot Affairs. He replaced George Papandreou who became Foreign Minister following the resignation of Theodoros Pangalos over the Ocalan affair.

    Like his father, Yiannos Kranidiotis also wrote extensively on international relations and foreign policy.

    His publications include The Cyprus Problem 1960-1974, Cyprus, History of the Struggle and Problems of its People, The Second Greek Presidentship, and, Proposals for a European Policy.

    Kranidiotis was seen as a rising star in Greece and was well respected as one of the few Greek Cypriots who rose to the top in Greek politics.

    He was also tipped as a possible future president of Cyprus, and it was rumoured last February that he might have stood as a compromise candidate in the elections which eventually saw the re-election of Glafcos Clerides.

    <title>Genaris recovering from heart attack brought on by news of Kranidiotis death</title> A:hover {color: #800000; font-family: Arial; font- weight: bold}

    Thursday, September 16, 1999

    [05] Genaris recovering from heart attack brought on by news of Kranidiotis deathNEWS of the tragic death of Greek deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis apparently caused one of the island's best-know political correspondents to have a heart attack.Costas Genaris, a veteran Cyprus problem reporter for the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC), was yesterday recovering in hospital after suffering a cardiac episode late on Tuesday night. His condition was described as stable.Kranidiotis died when the plane in which he was travelling to Bucharest plunged 23,000 feet on Tuesday night.

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    Thursday, September 16, 1999

    [06] Murder trial resumes with mobile phone fiasco

    By Martin Hellicar

    ARMED police were out in force at the Nicosia courts yesterday as the Hambis Aeroporos murder trial resumed after a long break.

    But there was no sign of a swift conclusion to the high-profile case, with the three-judge bench of the criminal court forced to sit through hours of technical testimony for the prosecution. State prosecutor Petros Clerides asked a Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) expert to go through the whole procedure for local telephone exchange systems. The detailed account was a precursor to Clerides trying to establish that two of the suspected killers had repeatedly contacted each other by mobile phone in the hours before the December 16 murder.

    After well over an hour of the expert witness's testimony, the judges' patience dissipated as a flustered court clerk failed to find, in a cardboard box of prosecution evidence, a mobile phone card that the prosecution wanted to present as an exhibit.

    The judges called a recess to resume the grinding testimony half an hour later.

    The trial has already been a long-winded affair, with several trials-within- trials on the admissibility of prosecution evidence stalling the hearing. Police have mounted a heavy security operation for the hearings, fearful of possible reprisals against the five suspects.

    Five persons are charged with involvement in the brutal murder of 36-year- old Hambis Aeroporos outside Limassol in December, a suspected gangland hit.

    One of them, waiter Prokopis Prokopiou, 35, has admitted before the court that he was involved in the shooting. He made the surprise confession after originally pleading not guilty to murder charges, standing up to tell the court that he was tired of the whole hearing procedure and wanted to bring an end to it by admitting his guilt. Prokopiou also said the two policemen on trial alongside him were innocent.

    Policeman Christos Symianos, 35, and special constable Savvas Ioannou, alias Kinezos, 33, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Aeroporos.

    Prokopiou is to be sentenced at a later date. He has been excused from obligatory attendance of the trial and yesterday chose his cell at the Nicosia prison over the courtroom.

    Police say Prokopiou, Symianos and Kinezos were the hit-men who gunned Hambis down in broad daylight.

    The other two suspects are hospital cleaner Zoe Alexandrou, 51, and her brother -- 43-year-old cabaret owner Sotiris Athinis. They have denied charges of conspiring to murder Aeroporos.

    On September 5, Athinis -- who has been released on bail -- was lucky to escape with his life when an anti-tank missile was fired at him as he entered his cabaret in Limassol. Four men are being held in connection with the attack.

    Police believe the attack was part of an ongoing gangland feud between rival underworld clans vying for control of the cabaret circuit -- thought to be a front for drugs and prostitution rings. Hambis and Athinis are said to belong to rival gangs.

    Hambis is believed to be the victim of a vendetta that has cost the lives of over a dozen suspected underworld figures -- including his younger brother Andros -- in recent years.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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