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Leptos Estates backs down in libel action

Leptos Estates, the Cyprus property development company, has backed down and withdrawn its libel action against property rights campaigner Denis O’Hare of the Cyprus Property Action Group.

Elizabeth & Denis O'Hare with lawyer Tasos Coucounis outside the Paphos court

EARLIER today, the packed public gallery of a Paphos courtroom broke into applause when the lawyer acting on behalf of Mr O’Hare announced that the libel case against his client, brought by Armonia Estates Ltd and Pantelis Leptos, had been dismissed.

Armonia Estates Limited is part of the Leptos Group and operates under the brand name Leptos Estates; Pantelis Leptos is Vice-chairman of Leptos Group and Marketing Director of Leptos Estates. They were claiming hundreds of thousands of Euros from Mr O’Hare resulting from statements, which Mr O’Hare had published on the Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) website, that they considered libellous.

At the start of proceedings, a lawyer acting on behalf of the plaintiffs asked the court’s permission to withdraw their law suit and the injunction against Mr O’Hare.

The judge granted the request and dismissed the case. The whole thing was over in less than five minutes.

Outside the courtroom I asked the plaintiffs’ lawyer if he would advise me why his clients had backed down in their libel action. His answer was an emphatic “NO!

Mr O’Hare refused to comment on the court proceedings, but a spokesperson acting on his behalf said that he wished to thank everyone for their support and especially for the legal testimonies submitted by some of the buyers.

The future of the Cyprus Property Action Group and Denis O’Hare’s continuing involvement is still under discussion. We shall bring you further news as we receive it.

Readers' comments

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  • Jim in Peyia says:

    Dennis must have some information about the company that they did not want revealed in an open court.

    Why else would they not press ahead with their case?

    It seems to me that the only way to stop these situations arising is for all the developers to deal with their clients in a respectable, decent and honest way.

    Jim

  • Pambos C. says:

    We should focus our remarks on the operation of the official bureaucracy and less to the actions of a specific firm. After all, the state is responsible to regulate and issue title deeds.

    I wonder has the state authorities made yet an official announcement over this matter? Or they are just letting others (firms, buyers, and home owners) to deal with this?

  • Robert on the Hill says:

    Steve – by withdrawing their case and allowing the lawsuit to be dismissed, the developer in question is no longer challenging the veracity of the claims made in the letter on the website nor the right of CPAG to continue the site. What are they then conceding? Yes, of course, we treat this with a degree of caution – but do not underestimate the consequences. After all, this is one of the larger developers on the island – what message does this send to the others?

    The writing is now writ large on the wall – so will the serious developers concerned about their futures and the future of property development in Cyprus get real and open up serious discussions with the likes of CPAG which, rest assured, is far from dead!

  • Steve says:

    The headline, “Leptos Estates Backs Down” and the comments submitted all reflect a similar view of the proceedings. I don’t understand, apart from the obvious relief it must be to Denis O’Hare and his wife, what the cause for celebration is.

    ****** have achieved all their objectives; in particular the closing down of CPAG. For them, the sensible thing to do was to withdraw, before a whole string of aggrieved buyers stood up in court and told the court, and therefore the world, about how badly they had been treated.

    Before anyone starts claiming victory, let’s see whether CPAG is resurrected or whether anyone else has the guts to start a similar organisation and web site in Cyprus or outside, knowing that ******, or one of the other developers, will probably come after them in the courts.

    We need CPAG or something very similar to put pressure on not only the developers but also the lawyers, estate agents and not forgetting the Cyprus Government, to clean up their act and put right the misery they have caused.

  • John S. says:

    Common sense has finally prevailed! Both sides have taken logical decisions and handle the situation with caution. This is not an era of fighting but instead an era of common efforts. The two parts have agreed not to get involved in an endless court fighting with serious economic and psychological cost.

    But besides that, the history of title deeds in Cyprus is old and notorious. The official authorities should be mobilized and update the procedures for issuing title deeds, in order to avoid such unfortunate incidents.

    John S.

  • from Austria says:

    THAT´S REALLY GOOD NEWS !

  • Robert on the Hill says:

    Without a doubt, a significant victory – Goliath backed off! Well done to Denis, Elizabeth and all concerned. Special mention to the lawyer who was brave enough to take this on.

    Now is the time for calm reflection. This was a skirmish – not the war. There is a long way to go. And beware ‘Greeks bearing gifts’!! We need to carefully consider the full implications of this event before determining the way ahead for CPAG. BUT WE NEED CPAG!! It has certainly got under their (the developers’ and lawyers’) skin, now lets turn it into a terminal cancer.

    Talk to us, Leptos et al!!

  • caroline says:

    WELL DONE DENIS!!!!!!!!!!!JUSTICE IS HERE WHOOPEE !!!

  • Stuart M says:

    Excellent news, Denis!

    You cannot be sued for libel when you are simply telling what everyone knows to be the truth.

    Keep up the good work which we all so appreciate.

  • Lisa B says:

    Great Result, hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

  • baileyboy says:

    Congratulations to Denis and everybody connected to CPAG and everybody who supported them.

  • Zsacharias Webster says:

    Congratulations on your success over what appeared to be bully boy tactics. It is good to see that Leptos saw the light at the end of the tunnel realising that all you were doing was exposing something that is far more reaching here on the island. If by them backing down it helps and assist others then they have to be commended, but I personally hope this now paves the way to move ahead and totally expose this whole can of worms.

    What the developers are doing is criminal and the big boys lead the way. They have grown far too big too quickly and not always with the right people at the helm, so correct decisions have not always been made.

    What you could get away with as a small family run developer soon gets out of hand as the boom hits and business starts flowing in through the door, then the crooked ways will eventually catch up with you.

    The UK has seen many larger companies fold due to dirty trading and bad practises, all I say is WATCH THIS SPACE, because the same will for sure happen here, as the past will catch up and there will be no place to hide any more and all the old loyal staff who are being paid fortunes to stay in their jobs to hide and cover their tracks will soon have run out of working years.

  • alex g grant says:

    Even though they got their asses kicked, it would have been better if they had saved you the trouble of an appearance, travel, expense, and strain.

    You deserve great praise, you are a credit to your people, well done, and enjoy the result.

  • jon frazer says:

    Congratulations to Denis and his wife on the magnificent and deserved outcome of today’s proceedings, and credit to their lawyer.

    On approaching the court this morning, I fully expected to be caught in traffic jams caused by coach loads of satisfied buyers’ support groups whose interests were supposedly to be safeguarded. I wonder if anyone knows where they all are?

  • Sunny says:

    Well Done Denis, fantastic outcome, Justice has been served.

    Best news I have heard in ages.

  • terry hibberts says:

    WELL DONE DENIS, THANK GOD FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO HAVE BELIEFS AND STICK BY YOUR WORD.

  • Dee says:

    Well done Denis and Mr Coucounis; perhaps now others will think twice before taking such action in order to intimidate those who inform the public of such practices.

  • Nosher says:

    At last, a bit of common sense.

    ****** obviously thought their usual bully boy tactics would prevail but didn’t realise the depth of support for Denis and the lengths some people are prepared to go to in the quest for justice.

    Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and instead of trying to fight us all the time, the developers can meet us and work toward dealing with the mess they’ve created.

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