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Cyprus property developer under police investigation

The police are investigating a Cyprus property developer who is alleged to have sold the same apartment twice; a situation that might have been avoided if the Land Registry were doing their job properly.

LARNACA police are investigating a developer who allegedly sold a flat twice and has so far failed to return the money to one of the buyers who was left saddled with a €120,000 debt.

But it never would have happened if the Larnaca Land Registry had noticed that two sales documents had been submitted for the same property – which they did not.

Andreas (not his real name) agreed to purchase the Aradippou flat off-plan in 2007 for €131,000.

He mortgaged the flat and made regular payments to the developer as the construction progressed.

But when it was almost finished – and the developer had already pocketed €120,000, Andreas discovered that someone else also owned the flat.

I found the guy there. He went to see if his flat was finished,” he told the Cyprus Mail.

Andreas, who did everything by the book, had been advised by a lawyer to submit the sales agreement at the Land Registry so that he could be secure.

The other buyer had already submitted his sales document.

When we submitted it they accepted it,” Andreas said. “They should have told me there was another one already. The damage for me was done by the Land Registry because I had only paid €1,700 as down payment before I submitted the document.

The Larnaca Land Registry said yesterday it was a mistake.

A mistake was made and there was a double entry,” director Michalis Filis said. “The employee did not see the submission of the first sales document.

Filis said when the issue was discovered they brought all sides together “we saw that they could not agree and we sent the case to the police.

This was in 2009 and Andreas is still waiting for justice to take its course.

At the advice of his lawyer, Andreas in the meantime continued to pay his loan, now at €90,000, despite the bank effectively having no collateral against it.

After the discovery Andreas contacted the developer who claimed it was a mistake and he would sort things out.

Andreas told him he no longer wanted the flat and asked for his money back.

The developer issued a cheque that bounced and then a second one – claiming a mistake had been made – which also bounced.

Andreas also reported him to police for the dud cheques a year ago.

In a letter written to police through his lawyer this June, Andreas asked the police to inform him at what stage the investigation was.

Police said they expect to bring him before justice by the end of the month,” he said.

It is understood that this is not the only case where the same developer is implicated.

Cyprus property developer under police investigationEditor’s comment

The police action is in complete contrast to the lack of interest they showed in a similar case involving British property buyer Conor O’Dwyer.

In Mr O’Dwyer’s case, which involved a property developer allegedly selling his house in Frenaros twice, the Attorney General told O’Dwyer that his property developer had not committed any crime!

(Mr O’Dwyer is currently pursuing a private prosecution against the developer involved at his own expense and we hope to report on its outcome in the next few months).

Readers' comments

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  • Tom says:

    Just about sums the place up!!!!

  • G J Gill says:

    Is it any wonder? before they moved their office to the edge of Larnaca’s magic roundabout, the old one looked like someone had discovered a WW2 underground paper file store and then moved the contents around by means of a high powered fan. Brown folders scattered all over the floor, computers that were new around about 1989.

    All this complimented by a staff more interested in distributing coffee and sticky cakes in between the infrequent “Work Breaks”. I’m sure that when the move to the new office took place they just uplifted this sorry third world farce and plonked it down in the new office. What Cyprus needs is to sack the whole rotten corrupt government system and their various offices and perhaps sub-contract the whole lot out for about ten years to a private contractor like Price Waterhouse in the hope that by then Cyprus would be properly governed by an efficient and uncorrupt civil service using 21st century technology.

  • Steve says:

    There are so many skeletons in the cupboard of the Land Registry that one has to wonder whether registering property or an interest in property has any worth beyond providing some civil servants with incomes.

    With regard to Conor O’Dwyer, it would be helpful in understanding what the Attorney General’s position really is, if Mr O’Dwyer would confirm, preferably to this web site, that he never withheld any payment or part of a payment detailed in his purchase contract. If he did, then he may never get his property back. My solicitor told me that however frustrated or angry I became with the ups and downs of buying a property in Cyprus, not to do what is instinctive for UK buyers and withhold payment. Andreas’ making payments on his mortgage indicates he has received similar advice.

  • pantheman says:

    Apart from the initial wrong doing of the developer, the Land Registry must also carry the can for this. It is the responsible body to control such matters and should compensate ‘Andreas’ and take it up with the developer themselves.

    In short they ‘Muckedup’ and they should pay for that mistake rather than lumber it onto the innocent party ‘Andreas’

    If the Land Registry cannot be trusted to carry out such a simple action then who the hell can we trust.

    And, if you wanted to take it a step further (I would), how do we know there was no collusion between developer and LR, this is something the police should also investigate so people cannot think they can get away with anything.

    I hope the guy gets his justice.

  • Peter says:

    It doesn’t matter if the Land Registry would have picked up on the double sale. Do not blame them.

    The flat was sold twice. There is a deception by the builder. So why can the police do something in this case, which they cannot in the O’Dwyer case?

    Is it that ripping off a foreigners is considered OK, but ripping off a local is criminal offence?

    Good Christians, but on Sunday morning only.

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