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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-06-24

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, June 24, 2000


  • [01] Chrysanthos was never called to court
  • [02] Censored: sexy French art film is banned
  • [03] Intercollege applies for full university status
  • [04] Heart doctor warns waiting lists are costing lives
  • [05] Central Bank measures ensure Cyprus not included on G7 blacklist
  • [06] Market inches closer to 500-point level
  • [07] Cautious optimism over possible fuel deal as prices remain sky high
  • [08] Karaiskakio denies cash crunch claims
  • [09] Sezer remarks give little hope for talks
  • [10] Five road deaths in five days

  • [01] Chrysanthos was never called to court

    By George Psyllides

    FORMER Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos, ordered this week to pay $4.5 million by a United States court, was never called to trial, his lawyer said yesterday.

    According to a Dow Jones newswire report, Chrysanthos was one of five defendants charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with defrauding investors, including an Ecuadorian charity for underprivileged girls.

    On June 9, the District Court of Columbia entered final judgements against five relief defendants in the case and on Monday ordered them to pay up by yesterday.

    But there was no sign that Chrysanthos had made any payment by yesterday’s deadline.

    His lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that his client had assured him he had never been called to trial by the US court.

    Efstathiou said Cypriot law required defendants to be present to defend themselves before any judgement was passed.

    He added that even if there was "reciprocal enforcement of foreign judgment", the case would still go to court in Cyprus since the Bishop had been tried in absentia.

    A spokesman for the American embassy in Nicosia told the Mail that the US courts had no jurisdiction in Cyprus, and could therefore not force Chrysanthos to pay the money.

    But he added that if the Church owned assets in the US then they could be frozen.

    The spokesman stressed that the case was strictly between Chrysanthos and the courts, and that the embassy could not in any way be involved in the issue.

    Besides Chrysanthos, the other four defendants are Greek firm Z-Finance SA; Andreas Zioudas, chairman of Z-Finance; Greek brokerage firm Hedley finance Ltd, and Christian Dante, a Hedley Finance executive.

    Z-Finance and Zioudas were ordered to pay $1.7 million plus interest and Hedley Finance, Dante and Chrysanthos $4.5 million plus interest.

    The court also ordered a limited asset freeze against Z-Finance, and Chrysanthos' US lawyer Lewis Rivlin to retain funds from the Fundacion Perez Pallares, the Ecuadorian charity, or transfer them to the court.

    Testimony before the district court of Columbia put Rivlin as the lawyer representing Chrysanthos and accepting the money on his behalf.

    Chrysanthos’ lawyer still faces further fraud charges from the SEC, as well as a $16 million US lawsuit brought by lawyers acting for the Ecuadorian foundation.

    The charity claims it was ensnared into a scheme involving bogus ‘prime bank’ notes promising large risk-free returns on investments supposedly backed by the world's largest banks.

    The former bishop – who stood down under mounting pressure over the scandals in November 1988 -- is due to appear in court in Nicosia to face fraud charges involving a British-based investor allegedly defrauded of $3.5 million in a similar get rich quick scheme.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [02] Censored: sexy French art film is banned

    By Preston Wilder

    ADVENTUROUS cinema-goers will, it seems, have to change their plans this weekend: sexy French art-film Romance, due to start showing at the Acropole Cinema in Nicosia as from yesterday, has been rejected for a certificate by the Ratings Board – in other words, has been banned from cinemas.

    The move is bound to provoke controversy, and may lead to fresh calls for the censors’ powers to be reduced. Opponents of the current system would like the Board to be limited to putting films in "categories", without any over-riding power to cut or reject a movie.

    In fact, the Board rarely invokes its more draconian powers: the last time a film was banned was three years ago, when Crash was refused a certificate. Like that film, Romance – the story of a woman’s search for personal (and sexual) fulfillment – deals heavily in explicit sexual scenes presented in a detached, clinical way. Despite the presence of porn star Rocco Siffredi in a supporting role, Romance is very much a film for intellectuals, unlikely to provoke anything beyond boredom in the ordinary viewer.

    The management of the Acropole had no comment, except to make it clear that the film was not being programmed in order to titillate: "All our films are carefully selected to meet the high standards of the Acropole," said a spokesman for the cinema. "We try to program films that have something to say about human relationships, and this film certainly meets that requirement."

    The Board gave no official reason for its decision to refuse the film a certificate. The cinema was notified of the decision on Thursday, and supplied with the relevant forms through which to appeal the decision. However, according to the Acropole spokesman, an appeal is unlikely at the present time.

    Despite the ban, filmgoers wishing to see Romance needn’t feel too downhearted. The film is widely available on video and DVD from Britain and the US, having been released uncut in those countries, and there’s also the possibility of its being shown (as Crash was) at a private cinema club, where the Board has no jurisdiction.

    Anyone wishing to see explicit onscreen sex, meanwhile, need only switch on their TV any night of the week, where the kind of material deemed unsuitable by the Ratings Board is freely available to all viewers with an LTV subscription.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [03] Intercollege applies for full university status

    By Anthony O. Miller

    INTERCOLLEGE of Nicosia yesterday became the first of the island's 28 private colleges to apply to the Education Ministry for designation as the first private university in Cyprus.

    A committee of half-a-dozen professors from America and Britain presented Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides with a letter endorsing Intercollege Executive Dean Nicos Peristianis' application for university status for his school.

    "We prepared a submission comprising 25 volumes of specific explanations as to how we think we meet the basic criteria of becoming a university. It is over 1,000 pages," Peristianis said.

    The overseas professors who flew to Cyprus to endorse the application "are presidents of universities" that have admitted Intercollege students, Peristianis said.

    "They have attended various functions at Intercollege, they've looked at our work over the years and they could express an opinion," he said.

    "The (professorial committee) head is Van Coufoudakis, a well-known American professor of International Politics at Perdue University. He chaired the committee in support of our application," he said.

    "The idea is simple," Peristianis said: "Last year, this government announced they will aim for Cyprus to become an international education centre... They've been talking about establishing criteria for what universities should be like."

    "Also lately they've been worried about what's been happening in the occupied part of Cyprus, because there are so many universities there. As a result, they've been much more positive toward private initiatives than they were in the past."

    Indeed, Coufoudakis noted Cyprus had "lagged seriously behind, since Turkish Cypriots in the occupied part of the island have moved first, with seven universities, which attract more than 25,000 students from many countries, thus turning tertiary education into their main economic industry."

    Intercollege Pre-Med Programme Co-ordinator Dr Andreas Charalambous agreed, noting the Denktash regime was "gaining recognition through its universities."

    He said the president of Eastern Mediterranean University, flagship of the seven universities in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, once boasted, "he has Greek Cypriots from Britain studying at his university."

    "There is already a medical school at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta. It is recognised by Turkey. So by international convention, if a diploma is recognised by Turkey, accredited by Turkey, it is recognised worldwide," he said.

    While this is not the formal recognition Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash demands the world accord his breakaway regime, some might see it as back-door acknowledgment that his regime has distinct status.

    Noting this, Charalambous declared: "Our Minister of Education should be ashamed to look at the state of our tertiary education, and what they have done to tertiary education on this side" of the Green Line.

    However, with the appointment of Petros Kareklas as new Education Ministry Permanent Secretary, both Peristianis and Charalambous say they are hopeful the ministry will do more to advance higher education in Cyprus now than it has in the past.

    To illustrate his hopes for the speedy approval of Intercollege's university application, Peristianis said: "I expect that the students that we get this year will enter a college and they will graduate from a university."

    That may be a bit optimistic, since it is over two years since Intercollege applied to open a medical school, and the £3.5-million, five-storey building it erected in the expectation it would open this year remains empty.

    Besides Coufoudakis, the "International Committee for the Establishment of a Private University in Cyprus," included the presidents of the University of Indianapolis, Roosevelt University, Wichita State and St. Mathews universities of the US; the President of the Federation of Russian Universities; and the Vice-Chancellors of Portsmouth and Oxford Brookes universities of Britain.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [04] Heart doctor warns waiting lists are costing lives

    By Anthony O. Miller

    DR CHRISTOS Christou, cardiologist at the American Heart Institute in Nicosia, said yesterday people would continue to die needlessly on Nicosia General Hospital cardiology unit waiting lists under the Health Ministry's new patient referral regime.

    That regime emerged from a meeting on Thursday called by Health Minister Frixos Savvides between Dr Costas Zambartas, the General Hospital's cardiology chief, and Christou, partner with Dr Marinos Soteriou in the Apollonion private clinic’s American Heart Institute.

    US-trained Christou and Soteriou had complained that the General Hospital had reneged on Savvides' pledge in March to have Zambartas refer heart patients to their Institute, instead of sending them overseas at taxpayers' expense.

    Savvides had told the Cyprus Mail he would get the feuding doctors together in his office, and would put down in writing a modus operandi.

    But nothing was put in writing, and Savvides "didn't want to discuss the question of the heart catheterisations and the waiting list" for them, Christou said yesterday.

    "Although we claim there is still a waiting list and people are suffering on it, they didn't want to discuss it," Christou said of Savvides and Zambartas. "People have been dying unnecessarily on the waiting list. That's well known," he added.

    Christou said he was told some team of experts was evaluating Nicosia General Hospital's waiting lists, and nothing much would change until this was done. He said he was not given any timeframe by which to expect changes.

    "Basically they agreed they would try to eliminate sending patients abroad, except for special cases," where a patient had a previous overseas surgery "and they wanted a re-do operation. It might be reasonable to send them back," he said.

    But he added: "I want a definition of those ‘special cases’. That leaves an open window (for unlimited referrals overseas) and nobody comes here."

    "There has to be a reason Savvides does not want to discuss (the waiting list)," Christou said. "It seems that the hospital is playing a game. They are saying ‘we'll send you the surgeries; don't worry about the catheterisations for now’. And they'll let time go by. That's the game they've been playing the last few months."

    He said a timely heart catheterisation could mean the difference between life and death, since the procedure diagnoses "people who have a major problem with their heart. After the diagnosis, people go for... surgery or (artery-opening) balloons."

    "If you don't have the diagnosis (possible in a timely catheterisation), you could die," he said. "I am not happy with the way they handle the catheterisations. It seems to me they're using a trade-off: surgery for the catheterisations."

    Christou scoffed at Zambartas' claim that he was trying to "help" the American Heart Institute by referring surgeries only.

    "I said: ‘You're really not helping us; you're helping the people. And the way you help the people is to tell the other doctors on the island that if they call you for an emergency, and any patient needs an urgent catheterisation and couldn't wait, or has been on a waiting list for a long time, you tell them honestly you can't do it right now, and there are people out at the American Heart Institute where they could do it for you tomorrow or the next day. That's how you help the people.’"

    Savvides was unavailable for comment.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [05] Central Bank measures ensure Cyprus not included on G7 blacklist

    THE G7’s anti-money laundering agency has warned Cyprus to tighten up its practices, but held back from including it in its blacklist of 15 "non-co- operative" banking havens.

    Cyprus, named an initial suspect list issued last month, was not included in the G7's Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist, which branded various Caribbean offshore centres, as well as Russia, Israel, Lebanon and Liechtenstein.

    Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday this was the result of "measures taken by Cyprus to fight this international crime (money laundering)".

    Afxentiou added the FATF was an important organisation, which had taken its decision after careful investigation of the island's financial institutions.

    A previous reference by the Financial Stability Forum (another G7 body working on similar issues) mentioning Cyprus as a potential money laundering hotspot was only based on impressions and media reports, Afxentiou said.

    The FATF was created a decade ago by the Group of Seven most industrialised nations to co-ordinate attempts to fight the trading in questionable cash.

    It is the first time the FATF has named names in its fight against money laundering.

    The countries blacklisted were considered by the FATF as "non-co-operative" banking havens, not doing enough to prevent the recycling of hundreds of billions of dollars in ‘hot’ money.

    Some $600 billion from drug cartels, mafia barons and other criminal organisations are thought to pass through banks each year.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [06] Market inches closer to 500-point level

    By Jean Christou

    THE MARKET fought hard to stave off the 500-point benchmark yesterday, but ended up inching closer with a 0.02 per cent drop to close at 505.67 points.

    Trading volume was up from Thursday’s £41.4 million to £44.5 million but brokers are worried that the current quick-buck mentality among investors could drag the index to worrisome levels.

    "It’s possible, very possible," broker Maria Anastassiou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. "Nowadays everyone is buying and selling stocks within a few days. Even on a return of five per cent they are selling and not giving the stocks a chance to go up. This is a very important reason for what is happening."

    Hardest hit during yesterday’s stormy session were banks and trading companies, the former losing 1.5 per cent and the latter 2.45 per cent.

    Bank of Cyprus lost 11 cents or 1.4 per cent to close at £8.00 while Laiki dropped a 23 cents, 1.9 per cent, to end at £12.20 after hitting an intraday high of £12.98.

    In the trading sector, Ceilfloor plunged 23.5 cents to close at £4.13 and Pierides G Electrical closed at £1.66, down 10.5 cents or 5.9 per cent, despite a company announcement that it was acquiring 100 per cent of DIY firm, Costas and Koullis Georgiou Ltd.

    Yesterday’s winners included insurance companies, up 2.49 per cent, and the ‘other’ companies sector, which rose by 4.12 per cent, trading on a volume of £11.7 million, almost twice that of all other sectors.

    Anastassiou said only a few of these companies were up and these were cases where investors were waiting for something important to happen.

    "Some companies are announcing that they are buying other companies and when investors learn about these developments they start buying without a real reason," she said.

    Companies in the tourism sector also closed slightly down by 0.82 per cent except for Dome’s shares, which jumped £2.62 to close at £14.20.

    The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) suspended trading for Frindlays Investments and Cyprus Airways yesterday due to a backlog of transactions. Frindlays will recommence trading on July 3, but Cyprus Airways will not return to the floor until the CSE is satisfied that the airline fulfills all necessary requirements on transactions.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [07] Cautious optimism over possible fuel deal as prices remain sky high

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE PRESSURE on the government to take action over petrol prices was cranked up a notch this week after moves by Opec (the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) made high fuel prices a long-term reality, undermining opposition parties’ wait and see attitude.

    Opec decided on Wednesday to raise production by just 708,000 barrels per day -- less than one per cent of total world consumption. Already producing 500,000 barrels above the official daily quota, the move underscores the group’s fear of engendering a repeat of the 1998 price crash by releasing too much supply at the wrong time.

    The announcement was made as the cost of crude oil for August delivery went up 60 cents to $31.25.

    Sky-high fuel prices have cost the government £14 million in state subsidies since January, and cut a loss for oil companies of around £5 million a month.

    The government on May 31 put pump prices up by four cents a litre for petrol, from 40 to 44 cents, while diesel rose two cents from 14.6 to 16.6 cents a litre. But the move was blocked by parliament the next day.

    Opposition parties insisted it was better to ride the tide of crude oil price hikes and sit and wait for the inevitable drop.

    But commenting on the Opec decision, Sarah Emerson of Energy Security Analysis, pointed out that "in the long term this kind of agreement is not enough to push US crude below $28-29 a barrel".

    On the same day, President Glafcos Clerides met parliamentary party leaders in a desperate effort to find a compromise in order to defuse the fuel crisis that’s stacking up the government’s trailing deficit by the day.

    Clerides has suggested a liberalisation of fuel prices, or a partial state subsidy, or a combination of the two.

    The proposals are under consideration by oil importers and the political parties. The matter is to top the Council of Ministers’ agenda on Tuesday.

    Minister for Commerce Nicos Rolandis yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that he expected feedback from deputies early next week.

    Political insiders were yesterday unsure as to what form a compromise would take, but there was some optimism that a way forward may be found.

    The parties are still awaiting concrete proposals before deciding which way to jump.

    "We are not in favour of the budget subsidising the price of petrol because it means the poor will subsidise the rich. On the other hand, we are not in favour of having a cartel of a few oil companies, which anyway is illegal, and guaranteeing them profits," said Kisos leader Vassos Lyssarides.

    Kisos wants to see a degree of market liberalisation that would allow price fluctuation, albeit it government-controlled in order to prevent costs from going above certain limits.

    Market liberalisation would also be in keeping with the path towards European Union harmonisation that must inject more competition into the economy.

    Lyssarides is optimistic that a solution to the problem can be reached before the end of the parliamentary session. "I understand that they are ready to accept what I am saying now, that they cannot go on," he said.

    Nicos Cleanthous, vice chairman of Diko, also indicated that some kind of agreement would be found. He emphasised that possible price increases must be accompanied by regulations in order to circumvent dangerous economic repercussions.

    A representative from the oil industry yesterday declined to comment on the matter, or say what an adequate price increase would be. He said he would await developments next week.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [08] Karaiskakio denies cash crunch claims

    By Noah Haglund

    HEALTH Minister Frixos Savvides and top Karaiskakio Foundation officials yesterday denied reports that a financial crisis threatened to jeopardise the foundation's work of finding bone-marrow donors for cancer patients.

    The scientific institution, which uses blood samples to search for potential bone marrow donors, recently gained international renown for its efforts to find donors for children suffering from leukaemia.

    Reports that the laboratory was having money troubles began circulating on Thursday, when Christos Andreou, who quit as the foundation's vice- president of administration last May, made some comments to the media.

    "Mr. Andreou is in no position officially to represent the foundation," said Dr. Adamos Adamou, president of Karaiskakio's scientific committee.

    Adamou conceded Karaiskakio had had financial problems in the past, but said recent talks with the Health and Finance ministries -- notably after a national drive to find marrow donors for Greek and Turkish Cypriot children -- appear to have solved them.

    To prevent delays in the foundation's work, Dr. Adamou said a £250,000 government advance on next year's budget of £1.5 million would soon be forthcoming. The foundation heavily relies on state funds in addition to private donations.

    "We urgently need the release of the budget to continue our work," Karaiskakio lab director Paul Costeas said. "It is not that anything is paralysed," he said, "but we are stuck in a bureaucratic situation."

    Costeas said that so far there had been no complaints from the public about any delays in foundation work due to a lack of cash, but if new money did not arrive soon, delays could result.

    Savvides said yesterday his ministry was committed to helping the foundation analyse all the blood samples submitted to it.

    The mass donor drive for young leukaemia sufferer Andreas Vassiliou helped raise the total number of blood samples in the foundation's lab to 75,852. All of them have been at least partially processed.

    Savvides said media reports about the foundation's financial woes were mere rumours, adding: "We have exceeded ourselves to speed up the process" of funding the foundation.

    He said Karaiskakio submitted its funding request to his ministry last week, which in turn forwarded it to the Finance Ministry.

    "Karaiskakio is so busy with scientific analysis that they sometimes neglect to do the necessary paperwork", he said.

    Of a total of 220 patients who have applied for a marrow match - the foundation previously had an active waiting list of 160 - so far, 37 matches have resulted. All but three of them were from Cyprus or Greece, though none have been for Andreas Vassiliou.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Saturday, June 24, 2000

    [09] Sezer remarks give little hope for talks

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday it hoped Turkey’s positions on the Cyprus problem would not find their way to the negotiating table in Geneva next month.

    Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou was commenting on statements by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who said on Thursday a Cyprus solution must be based on the principle of two states.

    During a visit to the north, Sezer said the absence of a solution was due to Greek Cypriot intransigence.

    "One cannot be optimistic when one hears statements of this kind nor can one see any prospect for the new round of talks," Papapetrou said.

    The third round of UN-sponsored proximity talks are due to start in Geneva on July 5 but have been overshadowed by a row over the renewal of the Unficyp mandate.

    When the UN Security Council dropped an addendum to the Unficyp renewal that gave the Turkish Cypriot side a say in the presence of the force on the island, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash threatened not to go to Geneva.

    However, he announced on Thursday that he would be attending the talks. Sezer said he flew in to be briefed by Denktash before the talks.

    "There is no indication that the Turkish side has changed its policy but we cannot preempt the outcome of the talks nor can we consider Mr Sezer’s public remarks as his final word," Papapetrou said.

    "The framework within which we are seeking a solution is already set out. If Mr Denktash insists of recognition of his so-called state as precondition for a solution then there cannot be an agreed settlement."

    Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriot side is considering was measures to take against Unficyp as retaliation to the UN over the rewording of the mandate.

    ‘Prime Minister’ Dervis Eroglu has suggested peacekeepers be treated like tourists and be forced to go through the same procedures to cross to the north.

    "We are discussing whether or not the existence of the pace force is necessary or not in the TRNC," Eroglu was quoted as saying in yesterday’s Turkish Cypriot press. "These soldiers are no use to us anyway."

    [10] Five road deaths in five days

    A 25-YEAR-old Chinese man was the fifth person in as many days to die in a road accident when his car was crushed by an oncoming truck on the Ayia Napa to Paralimni road on Thursday night.

    College student Ann Lyn, who also worked at an Ayia Napa restaurant, was overtaking when he collided head-on with a heavy truck.

    Lyn died on the spot. The truck driver was not injured.

    The fire brigade needed 20 minutes to extract Lyn’s body from the remains of his car wedged under the truck's engine.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

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