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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-09-15

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, September 15, 2000


  • [01] Athanassios says witnesses bribed to testify against him
  • [02] Fugitive banker's wife arrested in the north
  • [03] Pet monkey shot after putting two men in hospital
  • [04] UN Soldier's ear bitten off in bar brawl
  • [05] Cyprus to manage its own accession funds in new EU experiment
  • [06] Bourse plunges lower
  • [07] More missing identified as dead
  • [08] Two desks for 30 pupils

  • [01] Athanassios says witnesses bribed to testify against him

    By Athena Karsera

    LIMASSOL Bishop Athanassios yesterday broke his public silence to say he had evidence that individuals were being paid to testify against him in investigations into sex charges.

    “I know that they approach people, they give them money and they get them to testify against me. I already have evidence in my hands of people who were given money and who testified against me. And the most unfortunate thing is that they have never set eyes on me before, or I on them.”

    He said he had told this to the Synod but would be submitting his evidence to the inquiry committee, “at the appropriate time.”

    On Wednesday, the Synod ordered Athanassios to appear before a committee of inquiry to answer allegations of homosexuality. The Synod had been expected to clear the bishop of any charges.

    Athanassios - who has kept aloof of the sordid claims and counter-claims rocking the Church in recent months -- said yesterday he believed the Synod had been mistaken to send him before the Committee.

    Directing most of his anger at his main detractor Bishop Chrysostomos, Athanassios accused the Paphos Bishop of waiting for the Synod to convene before bringing forward new information, instead of laying it before an earlier committee of investigation set up to examine the charges.

    “I believe that this is not right because for about three months, or maybe even more, the investigating committee struggled with and made exhaustive efforts into this unpleasant issue. They twice called on the Bishop of Paphos to come to the committee to submit any evidence he had against me, including all that he said he told the Archbishop a long time ago.”

    Athanassios said Chrysostomos had refused to go to the committee and had waited until it had finished its work and the Synod intervened. “This is not right and I think that it was planned for this trouble to be stirred for certain reasons.”

    A member of the committee of inquiry appointed to investigate the sex charges against the Limassol Bishop yesterday said he hoped their work could be started and completed as soon as possible.

    The committee is made up of three of the Bishop's peers, Bishops Pavlos of Kyrenia, Neophytos of Morphou and Vassilios of Trymythounda.

    Vassilios said yesterday the bishops hoped their inquiry into the lurid sex allegations levelled against Athanassios by Limassol Archimandrite Andreas Constantinides would be completed soon.

    “We will be beginning shortly because we want to finish as soon as possible so that the least possible trouble is caused to both the people and the Church.”

    Vassilios also confirmed that more witnesses would be called upon. “Of course there will be (new witnesses) because there is no sense in speaking to the same witnesses.”

    He said that it would be premature to hazard a guess on what Athanassios' punishment would be if he was found guilty: “I couldn't decide on that myself. It is something that would be discussed by the Synod and the Synod would come to some decision.”

    Without going into further details, Vassilios said a clergyman found to have made false charges could also face punishment. “This is provided for in the rules of the Patriarchal Synod and for the clergy in our Church.”

    Speaking after the Holy Synod meeting on Wednesday, Bishop Neophytos indicated it was the fresh evidence rather than the reports of the Synod committee that had persuaded the Church to take investigations against Athanassios one step further.

    The Synod will also be intervening on Monday to look at the allegations against Constantinides and another Limassol Archimandrite Chrysostomos Argyrides.

    Constantinides has been accused of having an illicit affair and fathering two children with a woman working in his Limassol shop. He has been suspended from all Church duties pending investigation but denies the charges.

    The charges against Argyrides remained unclear yesterday but it is known that he is a close friend of Constantinides.

    Friday, September 15, 2000

    [02] Fugitive banker's wife arrested in the north

    By Athena Karsera

    THE WIFE of a Turkish Cypriot banker who fled to the free areas earlier this week has been arrested in the occupied areas, papers in the north reported yesterday.

    Kibris reported that Elmas Guzelyurtlu's wife Zerrin was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly helping her husband to escape.

    Police in the free areas yesterday confirmed that 48-year-old Elmas Guzelyurtlu, a shareholder and director of the bankrupted Everest Bank, had told the authorities he wanted to leave Cyprus in order to gather information to defend himself and save his bank.

    They said Guzelyurtlu had a Cyprus passport and ID, and was therefore entitled to come and go in the free areas as he pleased, since there were no criminal charges pending against him here.

    Police said the businessman had he left Cyprus on Tuesday for an undisclosed destination, widely reported to be the UK.

    Turkish Cypriot newspaper Hurriet claimed he had fled to Russia, where it said he owned a casino.

    The collapse of Everest Bank and five others sparked violent demonstrations in the occupied areas after thousands of people lost their savings. Turkish Cypriot papers yesterday reported that the 12,000 customers of Everest Bank were furious about Guzelyurtlu's escape.

    Kibris said yesterday Zerrin Guzelyurtlu had been arrested after initially being called in for questioning. The paper said she had earlier told a news conference that if her husband had not left the occupied areas, he would have been arrested and would have faced seven years in prison.

    She said her husband's life had been under constant threat since the scandal erupted. Their son told reporters that the family had been treated unfairly.

    He added he had been forced to close down the family's businesses, which employed more than 300 people.

    Turkish Cypriot 'prime minister' Dervis Eroglu told the Anatolia news agency that Guzelyurtlu would be extradited to the occupied areas if he went to UK, and that all the necessary measures had been taken to prevent other bankers embroiled in the scandal from leaving. But Britain, which does not recognise the Turkish Cypriot regime, does not have an extradition procedure with the north.

    A total of six banks, including Everest, collapsed in the occupied areas earlier this year, freezing the accounts of thousands of depositors.

    The banking scandal caused unprecedented unrest in the north this summer, with hundreds of depositors taking to the streets to demand their money back.

    A probe into the banking crisis by the Turkish Cypriot 'Attorney-general' is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the month.

    Friday, September 15, 2000

    [03] Pet monkey shot after putting two men in hospital

    By Staff Reporter

    A PET monkey was shot dead by its owner in Paralimni on Wednesday after it broke out of its cage and bit two men trying to lock it up.

    One of the victims, George Kourris, 41, brother of the cappuccino monkey's owner Costas, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday the monkey had broken the lock of its cage and escaped at around 10.30am.

    “We were trying to put it back in the cage but it attacked us when it realised what we were trying to do.”

    Kourris was bitten on the right arm and was rushed to a private clinic, were he received 35 stitches.

    While he was being taken away for treatment, an 18-year-old soldier, Michalis Pingos, came to assist the owner in capturing the monkey.

    But the monkey bit him too, and its owner Costas Kourris shot it dead as it was getting ready to launch a fresh attack against a third person.

    Pingos received five stitches on his right arm at Paralimni hospital.

    George Kourris said his brother had a permit for the monkey, but the Ormidhia veterinary services were unavailable to confirm it, or the country of origin of the monkey.

    It is illegal to possess a monkey without a permit.

    Only monkeys bred in captivity and imported from the UK, the Netherlands or Switzerland, are allowed to enter the island.

    According to the state veterinary services only these countries provide full assurance of the animals' origin.

    Friday, September 15, 2000

    [04] UN Soldier's ear bitten off in bar brawl

    By Staff Reporter

    AN AUSTRIAN UN soldier underwent surgery at Larnaca hospital yesterday after having part of his ear bitten of in a pub brawl in the early hours, police said.

    Warrant Officer Ronald Brugger was allegedly attacked by three unknown Greek Cypriot men outside a pub on the Larnaca-Dhekelia road in the area of the mixed Greek and Turkish Cypriot village of Pyla at around 3am.

    “There was an incident in a bar after a dispute with some locals with the result that one person was hospitalised after having part of his ear bitten off,” said Sarah Russell spokeswoman for the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). “The incident is being handled by Cyprus police and the solider was operated on this morning.”

    Russell said that after Brugger was taken to First Aid at Larnaca hospital, his friends went to retrieve the missing piece of his ear.

    Larnaca police confirmed Brugger had been involved in a brawl with three people, that part of his ear had been bitten off and that it had been reattached. No one has yet been arrested, they said. Police are looking for three men in their 30s.

    Some 240 Austrian soldiers serve with the 1,200-strong UNFICYP force, patrolling the Famagusta area and the mixed village of Pyla.

    Friday, September 15, 2000

    [05] Cyprus to manage its own accession funds in new EU experiment

    By Jennie Matthew

    CYPRUS is to manage its own funds in the build-up to European Union harmonisation, chief EU negotiator for Cyprus, George Vassiliou said yesterday, as part of a new experiment in the membership process.

    The news was announced at the Foreign Ministry on the first day of meetings conducted by Leopold Maurer, the Brussels bureaucrat in charge of the Cyprus application for full membership.

    The announcement was greeted with optimism, amid concerns that Cyprus is falling behind elsewhere in the harmonisation process.

    “I think this action is a good way forward for Cyprus to become a member of the European Union,” Maurer said.

    “The members of the European Union get the money they are given from Europe and they manage it themselves, whereas before the management was from Brussels. Now, as an experiment, Cyprus and Malta will be given the opportunity to manage the money that they will be giving us. Provided things go well, which I believe they will, because we have good mechanisms for this, other candidate countries will go on to use this system too,” Vassiliou said.

    Maurer said he was glad that 16 out of 29 harmonisation chapters had already been closed and said that four more were on the verge of completion.

    But he urged Cyprus to speed up harmonisation and in particular, to implement chapters that have already been closed.

    The news about direct fund management came after an embarrassing 10-hour delay on Maurer's incoming Cyprus Airways flight on Wednesday.

    A technical fault was discovered on the plane before it was due to take off in Amsterdam. Half the passengers were diverted through Manchester and the other half through London.

    Maurer was among those relayed to Manchester to pick up a connecting flight to Larnaca. He arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning, ahead of meetings kicking off at 9am.

    The incident happened just six days after a Cyprus Airways Larnaca-Milan flight was forced to return to Cyprus, after one of its hydraulic systems failed half an hour after take-off.

    “This sort of thing happens. The planes are flying all the time. The problems aren't serious, they just show how strict we are about safety,” said CY spokesman Tassos Angelis.

    Maurer is to conduct three days of scheduled meetings on the progress of EU accession in Cyprus. He will be leaving on Saturday.

    Friday, September 15, 2000

    [06] Bourse plunges lower

    By Jean Christou

    THERE WAS no let-up yesterday on this week’s slide in share prices as across the board losses were again the order of the day.

    The all-share index opened around half a percentage point down at 382 points, dropped rapidly to 374 points only levelling out in the last half an hour to close at 376.3 points, 2.22 per cent down. Volume was also lower standing at £25 million.

    All sectors again registered losses ranging from 1.61 per cent in the investment sector to 2.5 per cent for trading companies. Most sectors lost between two and two and a half per cent.

    Banking dropped 2.29 per cent with Bank of Cyprus (BoC) shaving off another 16 cents to end at £6.55. Laiki also lost heavy, dropping 22 cents to close at £9.42 and Hellenic 13 cents to finish at £2.07.

    Elsewhere, GlobalSoft stocks dropped three cents, ending at £5.27 while Pandora almost at the end of its first week of trading has seen its share drop slowly below the 25-cent issue price over the past four days. Jittery investors continued to cash in their Pandora stocks yesterday leaving the share to close at 20 cents on a traded volume of 1.16 million.

    Yesterday was also the debut for much anticipated CLR Investment Fund stocks. The share opened at 49 cents and closed at 43.6, changing hands from 49.5 to 43.6 cents throughout the session, and garnering 41.7 per cent of the day's volume with over 23 million shares changing hands.

    The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) has been mirroring developments on the Athens Stock Exchange over the past week, for better and for worse, seemingly unable to stand up on its own as investors sit back and wait for the long-awaited reversal in the bourse’s fortunes before returning to the trading floor.

    Market observers said yesterday’s gains on the ASE should be reflected in today’s trading.

    Friday, September 15, 2000

    [07] More missing identified as dead

    By Jean Christou

    AROUND six people from the missing list will have been identified through DNA testing by the end of the year, as well as 10 another missing persons from the 126 known to be dead but never found, Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said yesterday.

    Among those identified this week were the husband of Androulla Palma and his cousin, Christopoulos said. Palma was one of two women whose plight earned considerable public sympathy when they began digging up an unmarked grave at the Lakatamia cemetery two years ago in search of their husbands' remains.

    They believed their husbands were buried there although their names were on the missing persons list, and they blamed the government for prolonging their agony by not identifying the remains in the cemetery.

    The women said their lives had been ruined because neither could remarry, even though they believed their husbands were dead.

    On Wednesday night at the special facility set up for the DNA testing on the remains from two cemeteries, which has been going on for 18 months, Palma was given the remains of her husband for proper burial.

    She could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Nicos Theodosiou, joint chairman of the relatives committee for missing persons told the Cyprus Mail she had been very upset.

    “She had mixed feelings,” he said. “She finally got an answer for something she had known for years but which was never confirmed. The confirmation was painful but at least it stopped the agony.”

    Christopoulos said Palma's husband was among the 126 cases which had never been submitted to the tri-partite Committee for Missing Persons. The 126 were those known to be dead through witness testimony but without proof of remains.

    These names were recently struck off the list of missing persons after the families were informed. Christopoulos said around 10 people whose remains have been exhumed were on this list.

    “The examinations are continuing but we don't expect more results before the end of the year,” he said. “In all, there are around six people from the missing list and around ten from the 126.”

    Christopoulos said another 56 persons known to have died and been buried “haphazardly” in 1974 have also been identified.

    In July, the government published for the first time an official list of missing persons, which includes the names, date and place of birth, and last known whereabouts of each person, the majority of whom were soldiers missing in action. The list now stands at 1,490 from 1,619.

    Friday, September 15, 2000

    [08] Two desks for 30 pupils

    By Athena Karsera

    A LARNACA lyceum that had at least one classroom with only two desks for a class of 30 people should be fully equipped by Monday.

    The Headmaster of the Vergina Lyceum, Andreas Kouppas, yesterday told the Cyprus Mail the desks had not been delivered on time because of problems at the factory. “There also was some delay with the Technical Services,” he added.

    Kouppas said the school had ordered the desks well ahead of time. “We placed the orders in April and May,” he said, adding the school was only two years old and that the classroom in question had previously been empty.

    He said this was because the 2000-2001 academic year was the first the school would be having a senior class. “We get more and more equipment every year.”

    Kouppas added there were already enough chairs for all the pupils and that some of the required desks would be arriving today and others over the weekend. “We should be fine on Monday,” he said.

    The school year started this week with problems including continuing building work at several schools and delays in the appointing of teachers and the arrival of schoolbooks.

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