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Protester vows to fight Cyprus legal action

The leader of a property owners’ group in Cyprus has vowed to defend himself against legal action taken by a developer.

LEPTOS Estates has filed a libel claim against Denis O’Hare of the Cyprus Property Action Group in response to a page of the association’s website.

The company says the site made false claims about the issuing of Title Deeds on Leptos projects and that it is acting to protect its reputation and existing customers.

I will defend any libel claims vigorously,” O’Hare told OPP. “I am absolutely shocked and dismayed at this action.

“All I’ve tried to do is lobby the government, help buyers and fix the property problems in Cyprus for everyone’s benefit. This is a sad day for the Cyprus property industry.

Uncertain future

The organisation has spent the last few years campaigning on behalf of homeowners who have not been issued title deeds – a problem that is thought to affect around 100,000 people in Cyprus, including 30,000 foreign nationals. Legislation to speed up the title deed process is currently going through the Cypriot parliament.

CPAG has now taken down the website, which is owned and maintained by O’Hare. A message from the group warned it would no longer be able to help buyers in its current form, but said that some members were looking into a setting up a limited liability company outside Cyprus.

According to the Cyprus Mail newspaper, a Cypriot court ordered O’Hare to remove the webpage and banned him from repeating the allegations, threatening arrest and confiscation of his property if he did not comply.

A statement from Leptos Estates said: “We were forced eventually to take these legal measures which were also the demand by hundreds of our clients. They strongly felt their interests and the values of their properties were irreparably damaged by these defamatory publications.

“In those publications, numerous of our company’s projects were described as problematic due to issue of separate title deeds for the properties therein. However, these properties had separate title deeds actually long before those publications.

Editors note

There are approximately 130,000 properties awaiting Title Deeds, rather than 100,000 people as stated in the report. Similarly ‘30,000 foreign nationals’ should be ‘30,000 properties purchased by foreign nationals’.

Bearing in mind that properties are often bought in joint names, the number of people affected by this problem could well be in excess of 200,000.

When you consider that the population of the free areas of the Republic is approximately 800,000, the Title Deed problem could be affecting a quarter of those living here.

Readers' comments

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  • douglas says:

    I recently bought a property in America as a long term investment and received the title deeds for the property in 4 days.

    The American Lawyer was interested in how the issue of title deeds was processed in Cyprus. When I explained to him what is happening he was shocked and stated that in America they put criminals in Prison?

  • from Austria says:

    Recently :
    Legal uncertainty is the reason, why a common friend of mine decided NOT to transfer and invest
    part of his commercial activities to Cyprus !

  • Frank says:

    The attitude of ****** (and other developers such as ******) reminds me of a line from one of my favourite films: “Three Days of the Condor”.

    You know, you guys are amazing. You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth.“–Joe Turner (Robert Redford).

    Denis O’Hare has fought a heroic fight for the myriad victims of deceit by developers and their co-conspirators: the solicitors. He has tried in vain to work with developers and the Cypriot authorities to solve this mess of their own making. Their response has been to ignore him and to label him an enemy. The present “system” is just too sweet for them to give it up easily.

    Denis O’Hare has tried long and hard to be constructive. His reward has been to see the developers use their lies and a conveniently responsive court system to silence him. While many of the developers’ victims have faced years of litigation; the Cypriot courts seem to have found unusual speed and no difficulty in providing a conveniently swift response to an unfounded and undefended request from ******.

    If anyone is libelled and/or slandered; it is Denis himself. The developers scurrilously imply that his actions are intended to damage Cyprus; when it is their own exploitation and deception of their clients/victims which is slowly strangling their industry.

    It is very difficult for an honest, decent man to defend himself when his opponents resort to lies. We should wish him well and be prepared to support him.

    Another quote: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

  • Andrew says:

    Denis O`Hare should be regarded as a local hero for helping to bring this widespread deception into the public domain.

    I wonder why there were so many people protesting and and demanding their Title Deeds this week, if ****** are such a righteous company.

    ****** should be ashamed of themselves for this blatant attack on free speech. Do they expect ordinary people will all stay silent and ignore the fact that their Title Deeds are being withheld?

  • peter says:

    Ok *****, so how many properties have you “sold”? How many “owners” have in their possession Title Deeds in their name?

  • Simon says:

    If you consider an average of 2 people per property that’s 50% of the population affected, or say 4 people per property then that’s 100%

    OK, we need to factor out the properties bought in joint names as you have already included same in your calculations which improves the aforementioned numbers a bit. However, either the numbers are not as large as suggested or the title deeds fiasco is literally insurmountable?

    Still a very scary figure. No wonder the bank’s are failing to call up delinquent developer’s loans.

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