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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-09-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>

Friday, September 20, 2002


  • [01] Police officer remanded as Angelides lashes out over allegations
  • [02] Fifteen-year-old killed in bike crash
  • [03] News in brief
  • [04] New hospital will be ready by 2004, Savvides insists
  • [05] British Greens adopt motion opposing Bases antenna
  • [06] EU talks on British bases doing well
  • [07] Greece: talks can continue into next year
  • [08] EAC closes in on electricity debtors, as fraud files sent to Attorney- general
  • [09] Talks focus on executive
  • [10] Residence and taxation: what does it mean for expat incomes?
  • [11] Treaty with US 'a milestone in battle against terrorism'

  • [01] Police officer remanded as Angelides lashes out over allegations

    By George Psyllides

    A SENIOR police officer was yesterday remanded in custody for eight days in connection with a tax evading car assembly scam, but a Transport Department official arrested at the same time was released due to lack of evidence.

    The remand came as Chief of Police Andreas Angelides vehemently denied press reports implicating him in the purchase of two cars currently being investigated by customs authorities.

    Yiannakis Panayiotou, currently under suspension from his post at the police academy, was arrested on Wednesday along with Transport Department official Yiannakis Athanasiou.

    The court ruled that the evidence presented by police yesterday did not justify Athanasiou's remand.

    Police had requested the remand of both men in connection with three cases of cars assembled over the period between October 2001 and September this year.

    The court heard that investigators were looking into 142 case files of luxury vehicles.

    Police told the court that two cars seized from Panayiotou's home last Saturday had not been registered and that their chassis numbers had been removed from other vehicles.

    A garage owner testified that in the past seven years, Panayiotou had been taking luxury cars to his garage for repair and assembly.

    Police said the third car involved in the case had been found at the witness's garage.

    The court heard that Athanasiou had told police that he gave his approval for the cars imported by Panayiotou because they were old friends.

    The alleged scam emerged a couple of weeks ago after customs officers raided several garages across the island and seized luxury vehicles thought to have been imported in the form of spare parts.

    The case took a surprising twist yesterday as Politis implicated the chief of police in the purchase of two luxury cars - a Mercedes CLK 230 and a Range Rover -- currently been investigated by customs.

    In a morning radio show, a furious Angelides rejected the allegations and charged the newspaper of unethical behaviour.

    "It is impossible to tolerate this irresponsibility; it is a violation of the human rights of honest citizens and I wonder what further measures to take," Angelides said.

    It is understood that Angelides has already filed a number of libel suits against the newspaper.

    He added: "I will also appeal to the journalists' union for the unethical stance of this newspaper - a newspaper which prints vomit, resentment and nothing else."

    Angelides said the report was a complete lie.

    "I'm telling you it's mud slinging, lies; so today I will sue for libel."

    "It's a campaign of lies from a manufacturer of mud," Angelides said.

    Later in the afternoon, Angelides issued a written statement saying the report was unfounded.

    He said that the Mercedes had been bought from a private citizen, who had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation, after the sale of his Mitsubishi Pajero.

    "It remained in my possession for a little while, effectively in the possession of my son Michalis, and was sold to M.C. Sport Car Ltd," the statement said.

    The same company also bought the Range Rover.

    Angelides said that yesterday he had spoken to the owner of the company, currently in Japan, who had told him that "he was sorry he omitted to transfer (the ownership) of the vehicle (from Angelides)".

    "The car is owned by the company since the day the sale transaction tool place," Angelides' statement said.

    Deputy Attorney-general Petros Clerides yesterday confirmed that the two cars were being investigated and that they were indeed registered to the chief of police.

    Clerides stressed, however, that this in itself did not mean anything, and that he had spoken to Angelides, who explained that one of the cars had been put up for sale since August last year and that the other had been bought by his son.

    Clerides could not say whether the cars were suspicious, but the authorities were obliged to check all parameters.

    "In any case, just because they are registered to someone, it does not mean anything," Clerides said.

    "The information we had was that Angelides was the owner and we deemed it necessary to investigate," he added.

    "Isn't it natural to investigate these things?

    "And if we hadn't, wouldn't it cast a shadow on all of us who are obliged to investigate all aspects of the case?" Clerides said.

    The deputy Attorney-general did not rule out fresh arrests, adding that there was a steady flow of important information on the case.

    Clerides said there were two main methods used in the case.

    One was to import the parts and assemble the cars, and the other was to import written-off vehicles and then get the Transport Department's approval to repair them.

    He revealed that in some cases 4,000 had been paid to the state as duty, when the actual amount should have been closer to 40,000.

    Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou yesterday repeated that the scam could not have been perpetrated without the involvement of public officials.

    "Without Trojan Horses, a fraud cannot be carried out (in the public sector)," Neophytou said.

    The minister said the Transport Department was going through the existing legislation for loopholes, which could have been used to defraud the state.

    He revealed that, according to law, there was no obligation for insurance companies or car owners to make an official declaration to the department when a car was a total loss, so that the vehicle could be written off.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Fifteen-year-old killed in bike crash

    LARNACA police were yesterday investigating the circumstances in which a 15- year-old motorcyclist was killed after crashing into a car.

    Fifteen-year-old car mechanic Lefteris Zanou was killed at 11pm on Wednesday after apparently failing to stop at a red light at the junction of Nicos Pattichis and Faneromenis Streets.

    Zanou crashed into a car driven by a 46-year-old car salesman, and was thrown on to the tarmac.

    The 15-year-old was not wearing a crash helmet, police said.

    The collision was so violent that the motorcycle immediately caught fire, prompting the fire service to rush to the scene.

    The driver of the car was taken to hospital as a precaution and was kept for observation.

    A police spokesman said Zanou was driving the motorcycle illegally.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] News in brief

    Tourist, 28, dead in sea

    A BRITISH tourist aged 28 was yesterday found dead in the sea in the Nissi area of Ayia Napa, police said.

    According to reports, Daniel Fearon was spotted by his girlfriend at around 1pm floating unconscious. Lifeguards tried to revive the man but a doctor who was called ton the scene confirmed that the man was dead.

    Police said there were no external injuries. The body was taken to Larnaca hospital where a post mortem will be carried out today.

    Motorcyclist, 63, killed

    A LIMASSOL man aged 63 was killed yesterday after a motorcycle accident. He reportedly fell and hit his head, sustaining fatal injuries.

    Reports said Kritonas Panayides was killed at around 5pm while riding his motorcycle on Reas Street. The man's motocycle apparently hit a pavement.

    He was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] New hospital will be ready by 2004, Savvides insists

    By George Psyllides

    THE NEW Nicosia general hospital will be ready by July 2004, Health Minister Frixos Savvides told the House Health Committee yesterday.

    Construction of the new hospital started in 1996, and it was due to be complete by February this year.

    In April, however, the deadline was pushed back to June 2003. Then the contractor requested a further extension and more money.

    After negotiations, the government agreed to a new deadline of July 2004, pushing up the cost of the project from the initial estimate of 38 million to around 50 million.

    Savvides told deputies yesterday that the new date was July 2004, adding that his ministry was not responsible for finding who was to blame for the delays.

    The minister assured deputies that all arrangements were being made for the smooth transfer to the new hospital without causing problems to patients.

    Chairman of the committee Antonis Karas said the issue of the delays had repeatedly been raised by the committee, and as a result the state mechanism was mobilised to come to a final agreement with the contractor.

    Savvides said the negotiations had achieved two objectives: to set a deadline for the delivery of the project, and to provide for penalties in the event of further delays.

    AKEL deputies Doros Christodoulides and Kyriacos Tyrimos nevertheless charged the delays were unjustifiable and that someone had to take the blame, as they have cost taxpayers considerable amounts of money.

    Speaking after the meeting, Savvides said he was satisfied an agreement had been reached in order for the ministry to start making plans concerning equipment for the hospital.

    Earlier on, Savvides said preparations were under way for ordering the new equipment and training personnel.

    He said the ministry was not sure, however, whether to order the new MRI equipment now and install it somewhere else, and not in the old hospital as conditions there were bad.

    He added, however, that it would be difficult then to prepare a suitable place at the new hospital and move the MRI there.

    DIKO deputy Marios Matsakis said health authorities had found a microbe in the old hospital that could even cause deaths. He said it was very difficult to eradicate this drug-resistant microbe and it was one more reason to move the hospital to its new location as soon as possible.

    Savvides said the particular microbe could be found in every hospital around the world and it was not something that stemmed from the age of the building.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] British Greens adopt motion opposing Bases antenna

    CAMPAIGNERS fighting construction of a new antenna by the British at their base at Akrotiri Salt Lake have won the formal backing of the British Green Party at their party conference.

    According to the Cyprus News Agency, the British Green Party adopted an emergency motion proposed by London MEP Jean Lambert and actor Peter Polycarpou, calling for "an immediate halt to building work and destruction and removal of wildlife from the Akrotiri wetland, a protected wildlife habitat and proposed nature reserve".

    Commenting on the decision to build the antenna, Lambert said yesterday: "this is yet another example of the arrogance of the British authorities who feel they can bypass good practice and totally ignore local communities."

    She said it was unacceptable to go ahead with a project like this without the consent of local people.

    Cyprus Green Party president George Perdikis is to meet Lambert during a visit to the UK. The Green delegation will join other campaigners in a demonstration at Parliament Square outside the House of Commons on September 30.

    The Akrotiri Salt Lake was designated to be included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention.

    Under the terms of the Ramsar Convention, the British Bases are obliged to promote the conservation and wise use of the Akrotiri Ramsar site.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] EU talks on British bases doing well

    BRITAIN believes that talks regarding the implementation of the acquis communautaire on the British Sovereign Bases after Cyprus' accession to the European Union "can be taken to a satisfactory close before the Copenhagen Summit".

    A Foreign Office official spokesman told the Cyprus News Agency in London that the talks on the Bases were going very well and the British side was pleased with the progress made.

    A three-day conference on the status of the British Bases after Cyprus' accession to the EU began in Brussels on Tuesday, with the participation of the Cyprus government, bases, British Foreign Office and EU officials.

    The meeting, part of an ongoing series, was held to discuss how the bases could continue to exist within a member state and how accession would affect Greek Cypriots living inside sovereign bases territory.

    Britain, a guarantor power of Cyprus' Independence, maintains two bases in Cyprus under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, one at Episkopi and the other at Dhekelia. The bases cover 99 square miles of the island. They are not considered to be part of Britain and therefore are not part of the EU.

    The Foreign Office told CNA that the participants in the talks were making efforts to ensure that residents of the bases would have the same rights vis-a-vis the European Union as the rest of the population of Cyprus.

    He also stressed the importance of resuming talks in time "so that the accession of Cyprus to the European Union is not delayed".

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Greece: talks can continue into next year

    GREECE said yesterday it was ready to support UN talks on Cyprus continuing after the possible acceptance of the island's candidacy to the European Union in December.

    Cyprus is a frontrunner for EU accession when the 15-nation bloc meets to decide in December on its new members.

    "We will continue our efforts (for a settlement) even after December," Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis told reporters.

    "If there's the political will from the two sides, then even after December there's still time to find a solution until the final entry procedures for Cyprus," he said.

    Talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities that started in January have failed to make progress, despite an initial June deadline for a result.

    The United Nations is expected to submit a peace plan to aid the troubled reunification talks after new high-level consultations in New York next month.

    Beglitis said the UN's special Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto would meet Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday, ahead of October's New York meeting.

    The European Union is likely to sign the accession agreement with the first wave of new members, including Cyprus, during the Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003 for formal entry probably in 2004.

    "The timetable (for a settlement) existed for June, but today the realistic approach forces us to look at the talks not within a timeframe but until the very last deadline," Beglitis said.

    The European Union has said a solution to the Cyprus dispute is not a pre- condition for accession. Turkey has warned it will annex the north if a divided Cyprus is admitted. (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] EAC closes in on electricity debtors, as fraud files sent to Attorney- general

    By Soteris Charalambous

    THE ELECTRICITY Authority of Cyprus (EAC) yesterday decided to submit close to 150 cases of fraud to the Attorney-General's office following extensive research after a scam was discovered in which electricity meters were being tampered with to produce lower readings, resulting in up to 1.5 million in lost revenue.

    EAC spokesman Costas Gavrielides told the Cyprus Mail, "The EAC feels it has done a very good job regarding this large and difficult task of gathering evidence for the 150 cases (involved in the scam). As far as the criminal proceedings against the accused, it is now a matter for the police and the Attorney-general. We will now concentrate on the recovery of our money."

    Initial police investigations led to 71-year-old retired EAC technician Michalis Masouras, the facilitator of the fraud, who was found guilty of making a press to produce forged EAC seals, which were placed on the meters to cover up the tampering. Masouras was jailed for his part in the scam earlier this year.

    Since the fraud emerged, the EAC has carried out a full investigation to discover the identity of everybody involved and has been in contact with them in an attempt to recover money owed.

    "Five of them have responded positively (by agreeing to pay), resulting in the recovery of 193,000," said Gavrielides. "The opportunity has been given to them to pay in instalments."

    Nine of the accused have filed counter claims against the EAC in the Supreme Court, including one claim that effectively contests the right to issue estimated bills.

    A further 86 of the accused have refused to enter into any form of correspondence with the EAC, "They have even refused to accept registered letters sent by us," said Gavrielides This has prompted the EAC to make further attempts to contact them through high-level management figures in an attempt to recover the money. "They will be patient enough to explain the situation to them and invite them to present any evidence they may have with regards to what they have been charged or if they feel our estimates were inaccurate," said Gavrielides, "But we will use all legal means available to us to recover what was stolen."

    In the event that payment is still not forthcoming, the board of directors at the EAC has decided "to add the amount of stolen energy to their bi- monthly bills. If they still refuse to enter into negotiations for the amount demanded it will become payable immediately, as it is for everyone who receives an electricity bill, and in the event of it not being paid within the normal timeframe to pay the bill, then, unfortunately, we will be left with no alternative but to cut off the supply. Simultaneously, civil proceedings will be initiated against them in another effort to reclaim the money.

    "I'm not in a position to comment on how the police or the Attorney-general will act on the evidence that has been presented before them, but I feel we have amassed enough evidence for them to carry out a criminal investigation against them," added Gavrielides.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [09] Talks focus on executive

    NEGOTIATIONS on the Cyprus problem continued yesterday between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, focusing on the executive and legal authority of a central state.

    The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said the territorial issue would be discussed during the next two meetings, before Clerides and Denktash meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York on October 3 and 4.

    The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will be flying to Athens and Ankara for meetings with the Foreign Ministers of both countries prior to the New York talks.

    Talks between the two leaders have been going on since mid-January, but progress has been slow and the two sides are under pressure to reach a solution prior to the island's accession to the EU. The island is next month expected to be recommended for the next wave of expansion.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [10] Residence and taxation: what does it mean for expat incomes?

    By Soteris Charalambous

    TAXATION: at best it provokes whispered grumbles and at worst. well you can imagine. EU accession legislation has filled many column inches in the last year, so keeping track is difficult. Recent changes to the taxation system come into force at the beginning of the New Year, and these changes will affect the income of the island's large expatriate community.

    With all the changes, OFS WorldNet Ltd sponsored a seminar entitled 'Personal Wealth-Health Check Up', along with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to address the concerns of expatriates living in Cyprus. Judging by the turnout of over 250 people, the number concerned at how the changes will affect them is high. Indeed, Ene Glykys of OFS Worldnet said yesterday, "Speaking to the other service providers who attended, they all agreed that it was the largest gathering they have been to."

    Represented at the seminar were Scottish Widows International, who offered advice on setting up trusts to protect assets, and Pearson International, who discussed property as an investment as well as international mortgages. Lighthouse Financial offered pointers on safe investments in a volatile market, while PwC focused on regulatory issues and taxation.

    The advice on taxation was presented by Cleo Papadopoulou. The presentation started with double tax treaties (DTT) that Cyprus has signed with 32 countries (including the UK), which specify the place of taxation or each type of income to avoid double taxation, and how to claim double tax relief when it is paid in both countries.

    Papadopoulou also focused on the introduction of the term 'residence' in taxation changes and how people would be declared residents of Cyprus if they spent more than 183 days in the tax year. The significance of this definition is that residents of Cyprus can be taxed on their worldwide income, while those who fall beyond the definition will be taxed only on income arising in Cyprus.

    The change in definition is highly significant, as it affects pensions, dividends, interest payments received and rental income. Pension income in excess of 2,000 p.a. will be taxed at five per cent. Dividends received will remain exempt from income tax, but those who fall into the category of resident will be subject to a 15 per cent defence contribution, payable at source if received in Cyprus or by the individual recipient if received from abroad. The same will be applied to all interest income, although the defence contribution there is levied at 10 per cent. Rental income is also subject to a three per cent defence contribution for any property situated in Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [11] Treaty with US 'a milestone in battle against terrorism'

    FOREIGN Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides and US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Mark Grossman, yesterday exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty between Cyprus and the US, in New York.

    With the exchange of the ratification instruments, the Treaty, signed on December 20, 1999, comes into force and compliments the 1999 Extradition Treaty.

    The Treaty will promote closer co-ordination between the two countries to transfer persons in custody, execute searches and seizures, share documents, records and intelligence materials, identify persons or items of interest to authorities, and to take other measures designed to assist in the prosecution of a wide range of criminal offences.

    It is considered a milestone in the fight against global terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and related violent crimes.

    It is also designed to bridge the gap in co-operation between the two countries in combating terrorism, money laundering and other criminal offences.

    UN ambassador in Nicosia, Michael Klosson yesterday welcomed the signing and described it as "a significant step in deterring international terrorists and criminals from using Cyprus as haven for their activities". He said the US appreciated the co-operation it had enjoyed with the government of Cyprus on this and other important issues.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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