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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-11-01

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, November 1, 2000


  • [01] Five to be charged with Church conspiracy
  • [02] Market continues downward spiral
  • [03] Clerides prepared for lengthy talks process
  • [04] Extending dyslexia experience across the Green Line
  • [05] Contract signed for Larnaca port redevelopment
  • [06] Russian held over sex tapes blackmail bid
  • [07] Police probe million pound share scam
  • [08] Daughter tells court how elderly father was 'swindled out of his home'
  • [09] Neophytou under fire for handing out cheques

  • [01] Five to be charged with Church conspiracy

    THERE was a new twist in the Church homosexuality saga yesterday, with the Attorney-general announcing that five persons -- including two clergymen -- were to be charged with conspiring to malign Bishop Athanassios of Limassol

    The written charges -- which Alecos Markides said did not constitute a criminal prosecution -- come after a police probe into allegations that witnesses were bribed to lie before a Church inquiry, saying that Athanassios was gay.

    &ldquo;We have decided that there is satisfactory testimony to justify police going ahead with drawing up written charges relating to the offence of conspiring to harm a person or malign a person,&rdquo;

    Attorney-general Markides stated at a news conference yesterday morning He named the persons to be charged as archimandrites Andreas Constantinides and Chrysostomos Argyrides plus Eleftherios Psylos, Costas Savva and Manolis Georgiou.

    Limassol Archimandrite Constantinides has already been suspended indefinitely by the Holy Synod after spending months lambasting Athanassios as a homosexual.

    The three laymen earlier this year testified before a Holy Synod committee probing the gay claims. Two of them -- Savva and Psylos -- later claimed they had been bribed to testify against Athanassios, prompting police to launch an investigation into the whole affair.

    Markides said another witness before the Church probe -- hairdresser Christos Stangos - would not be charged because police had found no evidence of him conspiring against Athanassios.

    Markides said the five suspects would not, at this stage, be appearing before court. He said police would now be questioning the five, after which the case file would return to his office for a decision on whether to prosecute.

    The Attorney-general said the state was not intervening in the Church's own investigation into the homosexuality claims. &ldquo;We are not investigating whether there were any sins committed or whether church law was violated.

    We are not intervening in the work of the Holy Synod,&rdquo; Markides insisted. Athanassios has been called to appear before three Bishops tasked by the Holy Synod with investigating the truth of Constantinides' gay claims.

    Constantinides yesterday insisted he was the victim of a slur campaign. &ldquo;I am clean, there is no testimony to condemn me on,&rdquo; he said after hearing of the charges against him.

    The Limassol Bishop has always flatly denied Constantinides' claims, while his many supporters claim he is the victim of an orchestrated campaign to knock him off his perch as favourite to succeedArchbishop Chrysostomos.

    Chrysostomos, who has supported Athanassios throughout the months of sordid allegations, has controversially called a Major Holy Synod for November 14, convinced it will clear Athanassios.

    The Church leader's decision to ask his peers from the wider Orthodox Church to intervene in the matter has caused a storm of protest from local Bishops. The Holy Synod insists it should have been consulted before a Major Synod was called.

    Most Bishops also feel the Archbishop should have waited for the findings of the Synod inquiry committee before making such a move. Independent church experts support the Bishops' position.

    On Monday, Bishop Chrysostomos of Kiti, exasperated at the months-long homosexuality saga, suggested it was about time the public sent the Church leadership &ldquo;back where we came from&rdquo;.

    [02] Market continues downward spiral

    THE ALL-share index plunged to a new year low yesterday for the second day running closing at 293.5 points or 1.09 per cent down as pressure mounted on the banking sector in the face of the Bank of Cyprus Athens listing.

    Trading opened at 292, three points under Monday&rsquo;s close. The index dipped as low as 289 by mid session before pulling itself back but was unable to break back through the psychological 300-point barrier. Volume was the highest in over a week, standing at &pound;23.7 million.

    All sectors except information technology sustained losses but the sector was only saved by GlobalSoft, which against the odds jumped 11 cents to &pound;6 making it one of the star performers of the day with nearly half a million shares changing hands on a volume of &pound;2.6 million.

    Amongst the biggest losers yesterday, apart from banks, were tourism companies and trading companies which both ended around three per cent in the red. The banking sector lost 1.71 per cent with BoC shaving off another ten cents to close at &pound;5.28, close to the lower end of its Athens listing estimate of between &pound;5.20 and &pound;5.70.

    The bank is expected to float before November 10. Suffering the knock-on effect of its rival&rsquo;s Greek IPO, Laiki plunged 16 cents to end at &pound;6.93, a year low for the banks whose shares were hitting over &pound;16 a year ago. Both banks made the most active list with a combined volume of over &pound;5 million.

    &ldquo;Investors are still uncertain about the opening prices on the Athens Stock Exchange,&rdquo; said one broker. &ldquo;There is a huge pressure on the shares in both banks and they are dragging the rest of the index down with them.&rdquo;

    He added that many investors were cashing in their bank shares to move over to smaller stocks and that the recent government measures designed to restore confidence in the market were in reality just confusing to the small investor.

    One of the few shares, which did well yesterday, was Sharelink, the most actively traded of the day. Over 2.2 million Sharelink stocks were traded on as volume of nearly &pound;4 million. The share added two cents to close at &pound;1.85.

    A CSE analyst said what is being witnessed with Sharelink was the same scenario the market saw with GlobalSoft a few months ago. GlobalSoft was around &pound;2.60 before suddenly taking giant steps forward. The analyst said Sharelink was now showing the same signs.

    [03] Clerides prepared for lengthy talks process

    THE LEADERS of the island's two communities left for Geneva yesterday to attend the fifth round of UN-led proximity talks, but neither appeared optimistic of progress.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash voiced his pessimism in statements to journalists before leaving the occupied areas, while President Glafcos Clerides seemed resigned to the long drawn-out process promised by UN envoy Alvaro de Soto last week.

    &ldquo;Mr De Soto said he would be presenting various documents after taking into consideration our reactions to date,&rdquo; Clerides said before his departure from Larnaca Airport. &ldquo;This is something that will be continuous. It will not finish tomorrow or the day after. He will hear our opinions again and submit new documents and we will see how things develop.&rdquo;

    But in occupied Nicosia, Denktash said he held out little hope for a deal. &ldquo;I have not seen anything from the Greek Cypriot side that gives me hope,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The Greek Cypriots do not want an agreement with us.&rdquo;

    In an interview earlier with the Athens News Agency, Clerides said the aim of the present UN effort to sound out the two sides was to reach a draft of an overall settlement. "Of course, in order to conclude an agreement, the two sides must participate in direct substantive negotiations," Clerides said.

    In response to questions on whether the two side had come closer to an agreement after the fourth round of talks held in New York in September, he said: "One cannot say whether we are closer or further apart." He stressed that the Greek Cypriot side would not accept a confederation on the island, but was seeking to establish a bizonal, bicommunal federation as stipulated for in UN resolutions and in two agreements reached between the two sides in the late 1970s.

    Clerides met early yesterday with his advisers for the talks. Present at the meeting were Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides, government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, Attorney-general Alecos Markides and Under Secretary to the President Pantelis Kouros, who will all be accompanying him to Geneva.

    Papapetrou told reporters the meeting had been held within the framework of preparations for the talks, but nothing could be announced. De Soto, who will again mediate in the Geneva talks, was due in the Swiss city yesterday. Secretary-general Kofi Annan would not be in attendance, the UN said.

    [04] Extending dyslexia experience across the Green Line

    By a Staff Reporter

    AN ATTEMPT is being made to bridge the bi-communal divide by helping dyslexic children in both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

    Launched in the context of UNOPS programmes, the assistance programme for dyslexic children aims to bring not only young dyslexics together, but also their parents and teachers.

    Announcing the programme yesterday, Cyprus Dyslexia Association (CDA) president Dina Zakou said there was no organised association to provide help to people with dyslexia in the occupied areas. European Dyslexia Association (EDA) vice-president Alan Sayles, in Cyprus to help co-ordinate the project, added: &ldquo;We are here so that the knowledge and experiences that the Greek Cypriot community has developed can be shared with the Turkish Cypriot community so that they can work together.&rdquo;

    He said the educational system had to be changed to help dyslexic children. With the right groundwork, they would have &ldquo;better opportunities for jobs and successful lives,&rdquo; he said.

    The Cyprus dyslexia association has over 300 members and was established in 1994. It provides guidance and assistance to both members and non-members, and has been particularly active in shaping the regulations on a special education law, which is expected before the House of Representatives soon.

    The CDA's main aim is to establish a research, diagnostic and remedial centre for dyslexia, which would be available to all Cypriots.

    [05] Contract signed for Larnaca port redevelopment

    By a Staff Reporter

    COMMUNICATIONS and Works Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday set in motion the next step in Larnaca port's development into the main passenger harbour of Cyprus.

    Signing an &pound;841,000 contract for the development work, Neophytou said it covered a two-year period and would focus on legal aspects of the change and selecting tenders from prospective investors in the project.

    Neophytou on Monday said the port's current employees were being underemployed, while they were still being paid &pound;200,000 a year in wages by the state.

    But Larnaca's Municipal Council and Development Committee yesterday said that if workers were underemployed it was only because the government had found nothing for them to do.

    Larnaca Mayor and Committee president George Lycourgos said: &ldquo;We want to hear from the Minister and all the other authorities what they have done to get Larnaca harbour out of this mess. What have they done to get work? Nothing has been done. This is what worries us and makes us bitter.&rdquo;

    The government earlier this year announced a four-part plan for revitalising the island's ports, made up of modernisation, 24-hour service, cost reduction and more efficient service. Limassol and Larnaca ports have both suffered in recent years due to stiffer competition from other ports in the region.

    [06] Russian held over sex tapes blackmail bid

    By a Staff Reporter

    A RUSSIAN businessman was remanded for eight days yesterday on suspicion of blackmailing at least two Limassol men with videotapes showing them together in action with a prostitute.

    The suspect, who is 35, married, and a permanent resident of Cyprus, was accused of bringing over a Russian prostitute to sell her services to clients, who were then videoed and photographed without their knowledge.

    Police said the Russian's arrest had followed in-depth investigations after two of the victims came forward. The suspected blackmailer had allegedly demanded $100,000 from one of the victims, accompanying his demand with pictures of the two men having sex with the prostitute.

    When he refused to pay, more photographs, inscribed with lewd comments and the victim's name, were sent to his neighbours. The second man pictured later also came forward to police.

    [07] Police probe million pound share scam

    By a Staff Reporter

    POLICE are investigating allegations of a million pound share scam in which the suspect is accused not only to have falsely claimed to represent a company to obtain the money, but also to have used the fact he was related to an AKEL deputy to gain trust.

    A Nicosia businessman went to the police after entrusting almost a million pounds to a person who claimed to be a representative of the New Marathon Company and offered to get him private placement shares in the business.

    The phoney representative also allegedly used the fact his brother was an Akel deputy to gain his victim's trust. Months have passed since he handed over the money, and the victim told police he was concerned about ever getting his money back.

    A representative from New Marathon yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the company was aware of the alleged scam, but had nothing to do with the case.

    Reports yesterday said the unnamed AKEL deputy had not spoken to his brother for years. Nicosia police yesterday told the Cyprus Mail the suspect had been questioned by police, but not arrested.

    [08] Daughter tells court how elderly father was 'swindled out of his home'

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE daughter of an 80-year-old widower who claims he was swindled out of his home by a lawyer and her sister yesterday told a Nicosia court how she discovered the alleged scam.

    Niki Kei told the Nicosia Criminal court that her father Antonis had never signed papers granting lawyer Andri Irakleaous and her sister Maria Ioannou, a chemist, power of attorney over his &pound;56,000 home in the Engomi suburb of Nicosia.

    Lawyers defending Irakleous and Ioannou, who face charges of defrauding Antonis Kei and his now deceased wife, claim that the elderly man willingly signed over his home to their clients a few years ago.

    Niki Kei denied this yesterday, telling the court that her father told her he had not given anyone power of attorney over his home. The prosecution witness said she had called in police when she discovered that the two accused had &ldquo;swindled&rdquo; her parents out of their home.

    In an emotional testimony on Monday, Antonis Kei told the court that Irakleous and Ioannou, 47 and 42, had swindled him out of &ldquo;the earnings of 10 years of hard work&rdquo; in Austaralia. Antonis Kei, a Morphou refugee, moved to Austaralia with his wife Angeliki in 1975 to work as a labourer.

    The couple returned to Cyprus in 1993 and bought a &pound;56,000 home off Irakleous three years later. Angeliki died last January. Kei told the court Irakleous had got him to sign blank documents. He said he did not at the time know what he was signing. The trial continues.

    [09] Neophytou under fire for handing out cheques

    COMMUNICATIONS Minster Averoff Neophytou yesterday came in for heavy criticism from deputies who blasted him for ad hoc donations of government money to village communities, without any control of where it finally ended up.

    The minister was called to question during a session of the House Communications Committee. Despite the fact that the House Finance Committee had given its consent to funding several small projects from Neophytou's department, the minister's informal procedures were heavily criticised by the chairman of the Communications Committee, Nicos Pittokopitis of DIKO, who accused the minister of giving out state money without even knowing what it would be used for.

    &ldquo;For the last 25 days, you have been touring around several districts, especially Paphos, with a bag full of cheques, distributing them here and there, without having the slightest clue about where the money would end up. And I have proof to back that,&rdquo; Pittokopitis said.

    But Neophytou defended his actions, saying the reason he handed out cheques to village authorities on the sidelines of local festivals and other events was to speed up bureaucratic procedures. &ldquo;The criticism is unjustified.

    My practice simply speeded up the time-consuming procedures usually followed to implement state budget decisions.&rdquo; But Pittokopitis lashed out at Neophytou, claiming his actions were part of a political campaign to increase his popularity ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

    &ldquo;When you were called to attend a Parliamentary session a few days ago you asked to postpone it because your ministry officials had just rushed to the villages to find out what on earth had happened to that money, &rdquo; the opposition DIKO deputy insisted.

    Auditor-general Chrystalla Yiorkadji told the Committee it was the first time Parliament had exercised a watchdog role over such small funding projects. But the development schemes promoted by Neophytou had to be concluded before for the House could move ahead with any investigation, she said.

    Cyprus Mail 2000

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