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Brit at centre of dispute arrested charged and freed

Conor O’Dwyer was detained as he tried to leave the Paralimni court last Friday and was later arrested, handcuffed and taken to the police station where he was charged with public insult and later released.

Conor & Michaela O'Dwyer with an ITV film crew outside the Paralimni office of Cyprus property developer Christoforos Karayiannas & Son Ltd

CONOR O’Dwyer, the Brit at the centre of a five year legal battle with Cypriot developer Christoforos Karayiannas & Son Ltd was detained and later arrested by the police as he left the Paralimni court last Friday.

Mr O’Dwyer was in court to hear Attorney-General Petros Clerides decision that he had dropped the criminal case against him for documenting details of his ongoing property dispute with Karayiannis on the Internet.

But two police officers prevented O’Dwyer from leaving the courtroom after the hearing and he was taken to a holding area in the court. He was subsequently arrested and driven to the police station in handcuffs where he was charged with public insult and later released.

Earlier in the week O’Dwyer and his wife Michaela had been filming in Cyprus with a crew from the national ITV network for their prime-time series “Homes From Hell” due to be transmitted later this year.

The charges arose from an incident on Thursday outside Karayiannas’ office in Paralimni where ITV had been filming the couple holding a banner (see photograph) containing the words “Karayiannas are Criminals”.

In October, the Paralimni Court found Christoforos Karayiannas, his son Marios and Charalambos Ttigis guilty on criminal charges relating to their assault on Mr O’Dwyer in 2008.

Readers' comments

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  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Sorry, I meant “Hy Brazil Residents’ Association”. I’m standing for Chairman…

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Unbelievable, I completely agree with your view that most Greek Cypriots know they will never get back their assets from the North. From the trauma of 1974, many were hit with:

    1) the harsh realisation that land in Cyprus is finite – once you let go of what you had, it is gone forever

    2) the idea of being abandoned by the international community. Justice is dispensed by those in power for their own benefit

    3) Poverty. Many with assets in the North now had next to nothing.

    I believe this left many with the attitude of “grab what you can, when you can and manipulate the law as you can to defend your actions”.

    Into this situation walk us – the Hy Barzil Residents Association!

    Due to our “enormous wealth” (obviously we all just sold million £ houses in the UK) and credulous attitudes (“No, you don’t need an independent solicitor in Cyprus to buy property”), we were a way of not only escaping poverty but generating HUGE WEALTH.

    It would have been almost rude not to have taken the opportunity to fleece us.

    Cypriots know that the bit of their land they have access to is finite so what they now have they wish to retain. Selling it “with strings”, if they can get away with it, they will (and have!)

    Moreover, assuming the government here is not stupid, they’ve looked at 1950s Cuba (a favourite of Christofias’) and more recently places like Italy and they’ve seen the youth of the countries unable to buy property as they’ve been priced out by foreigners. Venice is now owned by Americans, Chinese, Germans and Brits. Very few Italians can afford to live there…

    A good way to avoid this is to have a yoyo Ponzi scheme: we sell you, you give us money, we retain the assets, you all go, we sell them again to the next punter. Can anyone honestly say they have seen government/ non-expat actions over the last couple of years to challenge the above?

  • out of the frying pan into the fire says:

    Well they have given all of the ammo to us.

    Now is the time to fire it back.

    Get onto your Euro MP and your UK MP or who ever your represents you in your country.

    Start firing now.

  • Richard says:

    Conor’s struggle I think – long term – will prove itself to be worthwhile. Not only for him and his family (after what he’s been through – that’s my primary concern for him) but also in raising awareness of the issue as a whole.

    Also – and this is where my thinking may be a little different – it’s useful for the Cypriots. I’m not talking about the terminally corrupt face of Cyprus – there is little or no hope of changing their collective thinking – but the younger upcoming face of Cyprus that is (and trust me they exist) profoundly ashamed of what their country is now tarnished with.

    If we look at Conor’s struggle on a micro-scale – it’s similar to the Egyptians and Libyans on a macro scale. In the case of Egypt – a business colleague of mine recently referred to it as a ‘goal-less revolution’. They don’t know quite what they want – but they sure know whatever it is – they don’t want Mubarak to be at the head of it!

    Enter Libya – and the desperation of the Gadaffi clan to hold onto power. There are some parallels to Cyprus there too – suppression, aggression, desperation. A wounded animal is the most dangerous – always.

    In Cyprus now – we have to find those who are looking at this – and at the tipping point of saying ‘enough’. Let’s find a way to mediate this – come up with justice for the worst aggrieved and a rescue plan to prevent thousands more Conor’s from taking the same or similar action. They are Conor’s hope, our hope. Cyprus’s future hope.

    Each successive cycle of negotiation will get easier. Conor is pioneering a fight for justice that in the past has secured votes for women, the abolition of slavery, the formation of minimum standards in working practices, equal pay and a raft of of other advances. None of these people pulled off these milestones entirely on their own – they inspired others into action.

    So it will be this – it’s up to us.

  • Max says:

    How do you think Conor should handle his concerns Danny, perhaps take legal action against them? Oh I forgot he’s already doing that, and look where it’s got him so far, 6 years on and nothing. ITV, the forums, his web-site, the bad publicity and Conor’s protests are a thorn in their side and he wants them to know that until they repay him and recompense him, none of it is going to stop, ever, it will just get worse and worse for them – they know exactly how to make it stop. Another case against Conor means more bad publicity for Karayiannas and Cyprus.

  • John Swift says:

    I said back in 2008 when we found first hand the corruption that we’d known about for so long that the only way is through the EU, people should keep up the pressure on our MEPs and make them do the job that they’re paid to do.

    The only people who can get this put right are our MEPs, therefore the pressure must be kept up.

  • Conor O'Dwyer says:

    In response to some comments below.

    There is no separation between the assaults I have suffered at the hands of Christoforos Karayiannas and his son Marios Karayiannas and the company Christoforos Karayiannas and Son Ltd. At no time in court have they ever distanced their criminal actions or that of their employee Charalambos Ttigis from the dispute I have with the company in fact the reverse is true. Their actions they claim are the direct result of the website that I as a customer started to highlight our plight against the company. If it was a bar fight over a football match that Father and Son assaulted me I would agree that throwing the company logo in would be wrong. I have suffered two assaults at the hands of these criminals for just looking at my house or talking to neighbours. Our grievance with the Company, owners and employees is I believe very much in the local public interest not just because of the assaults but the pending appeal for ‘criminal fraud’.

    Paraphrasing for clarity from their own website “[Christoforos Karayiannas] has since built his company with his bare hands from scratch to what it is today ……. He runs the business with his son Marios who has taken over the managing department.”

    My sign is good and on strong legal ground. I ran it past my lawyer before printing and the protest was planned before the case for defamation/broadcasting a public insult was dropped. I was and am prepared to defend that sign and my right to hold it.

    On all protests, we’ve tested the water first with a smaller event. The Police in Nicosia were fabulous and I’m glad to say that your right to protest there is just as good (if not better) than it is in London. In Paphos the police were equally great but a good friend of mine who attended a protest outside a law firm in Paphos was spat on when she tried the same in Paralimni. She was alone and was taken away by the Police for ‘public insult’ the Paralimni Police of course did not take the matter further. Last Thursday I just dipped my toe into the Paralimni waters. Last Thursday was just a two hour protest with my wife Michaela as ITV were pushed for time and we had to do some filming at our villa too. I’ll be back soon at the same place with the same sign and more!

    I’ll also be highlighting the pitfalls of buying property in Cyprus by protesting at the ‘A Place in the Sun Exhibition’ Earls Court London, 11th – 13th March 2011. If you have a problem with buying in property in the Republic of Cyprus come along and join the protest.

    Thanks Nigel for your article and all the comments below.

  • Unbelievable says:

    @Peter – Technically you may be right, but who in their right mind would really want to pursue a charge against Conor for Libel damages. Only a fool would insist.

    Fact: Both Directors of the company, shareholders of the company, acting for the company, running the company, representing the company, named after the company…ARE CRIMINALS!!!

    @Odd_Job_Bob – Greek Cypriots know they will never get their land or property back from the North. Maybe that’s why they want to retain legal title to the land they have sold to funny foreigners?

    It’s the biggest Ponzi scheme of the Century and I hope ITV highlight this fact. All those funny foreign investors have bought a White Elephant.

    Some Cypriots may only have half a brain cell, but collectively that amounts to a lot. They’ve managed to DUPE enough people for long enough before getting caught out :-)

  • Danny says:

    I would respectfully suggest the Conor O’Dwyer is getting some bad advice. This kind of television staged performance will cost him the support of some who think his genuine concerns should be handled without such gestures.

    It is clearly designed to wind up Karayannis and make good TV, which I suppose was the point.

    But what good will this do in the long run? Add another case against him? Give his family more to worry about?

    We support you Conor, but please don’t become a stooge for TV producers who couldn’t give a fig about you and your problems.

  • Paul lambert says:

    Just another few words from me before I calm down ! The corruption in Cyprus seems to permeate throughout the judicial system, the police force, banks and politics. Would the honest people there in positions of authority please have the guts to stand up and say something because your island is being looked upon as some third world joke now.

    I have heard that a bank has dismissed some employees for forging client signatures! Banks and builders hide from clients the facts about developer mortgages. The ridiculously archaic power of attorney issue is just another way of conning foreigners out of their money. Developers contracts seem to enable them to never deliver properties and yet still not be held to account. The Land Registry system, which is supposed to protect owners rights to the property has been shown to be failing miserably.

    So much more I could say but those men in white coats have just broken the doors down and want to take me back to my cell !

  • Paul lambert says:

    Considering the court had just found the Karayiannas brothers guilty of criminal assault, Conor’s banner was just telling the truth!

    The Cypriot authorities are starting to behave like those in a Third World country ! If this is what Brits can expect for complaining about what goes on in Cyprus then the tourist industry is dead in the water. I regularly tell friends in the UK about what is happening in Cyprus and none would now consider going there for a holiday let alone buying a place there.

  • peter says:

    I support Coner but that sign is ill advised. That gold Karyannis type and villa logo clearly refers to Christoforos Karayiannas & Son Ltd which is a separate legal entity to the directors of the company.

    The company has no criminal conviction. the sign is a libel. Coner has opened himself to damages by the shareholders of the company.

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Now that I’ve got my wind up (and following on from the theory of a massive conspiracy)…. we’ve really got to look seriously at whether the authorities do have “no more than two brain cells”, are “clowns”, “idiots”, “child-like” and all the other stuff that quite justifiably aggrieved people are saying on these forums (I know there’s a latin plural in there somewhere but I can’t be bothered).

    Let’s say it IS a conspiracy. Let’s say the Powers That Be KNOW this is a small island, know it produces nothing(virtually), know that it relies on tourism and property to survive (as well as offshore financial services but we’ll leave that one for now). The PTB KNOW once you’ve sold the land to some funny foreigner, you can not earn from it anymore (OK, IPT but that’s nominal).

    What do your countrymen then do to earn money? How does your country survive?

    So, if you can generate huge amounts of money from selling your land (and property developed on it), but can RETAIN ULTIMATE POSSESSION OF IT, you can sell it twice. Or three times. Why does it take forever to get hold of a piece of paper that says the propoerty we’ve paid heaps for is ours? Why do we have to pay twice for it in terms of Cancellation Agreements, additional Fees and Developer-incurred taxes, debts etc? If the banks repossess our property and evict us due to developer debts, who does the property go back to?

    Who do you think will be buying up all the cheaper than chips repossessed properties, then selling them again to other funny foreigners?

    If this conspiracy theory is correct (look at ALL the goverment actions and draw your own conclusions), it is not the Powers That Be who are the dummies here…

  • Mike says:

    Neanderthal thinking from a Neanderthal group of people.

    Why do the good people of Cyprus put up with these idiots in their midst that give their Country such a bad reputation abroad. The whole of the western world is laughing at their cave man antics. Pathetic.

    A fancy office & fancy car and wads of cash does not make anyone a civilised human being; that status has to be earned and proven.

  • bill says:

    Well this programme when aired will show the corruption regarding developers banks and lawyers but just as important it will raise the question how a banana republic with a police force that does not allow the freedom of speech are going to get the presidency of the EU

  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    Andrew, you wrote earlier, “Sometimes you need to stand for justice and defend your rights”. Nothing wrong there.

    You now write, “(Cyprus property) is one organised con from beginning to end”, with which I also (partly) agree.

    Question now is: when is the sometime we should fight? Surely we should pick our fights when there is a hope of winning?

    Another even cheerier question: If Conor got his money back, would he take it and invest in another property here? Knowing what we know now, would any of us?

    On this very website, the title of one of the articles was, “Title Deeds legislation will destroy property market”. Again, couldn’t disagree there. The writer of the piece specifically did not say “only the untitled bits of the market” but the market as a whole.

    Our options are clear:

    1)fight the above conspiracy which introduces legislation to protect itself, arrests whistleblowers and gives you the option to inherit other people’s bad debts, all just to hold on to an asset in a destroyed market or

    2)elbow the women and children out the way and be the first to the lifeboats?

    I read on one of the forums some probably very nice lady saying that the title deeds scam will push UP the value of her titled property… Teee tum, teee tum…

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    At the risk of being kebabed by all and sundry, I wonder whether Conor’s theatrics with such a provocative poster were altogether wise. I’m 100% behind him on his relentless mission but there are times when discretion is surely the better part of valour. Still, too late now so let’s hope it has not added unduly to his judicial problems.

  • Andrew says:

    Tell it the way you see it Conor!

    I do hope that ITV run a complete series on prime-time TV and expose the Cyprus property scandal for all to see. It is one big organised con from beginning to end. What else could explain 130,000 home buyers, being denied their Title Deeds.

  • Jim says:

    When will the Cypriot authorities stop digging an ever bigger hole for themselves.

    You would think anyone with more than two brain cells would want to let this embarrassment end as quietly as possible.

  • Max says:

    Amazing what ‘mates’ in the police force can do for one, but they soon had to let him out when word came down from on high! Don’t think they’ll be trying that one on again. Rapped knuckles Mr Paralimni Police Chief?

    When will you realise that you don’t take your orders from Marios Karayiannas, he’s the criminal, read the sign held by Conor as he peacefully and legally protested! And he’ll be back soon……

  • Bob Briggs says:

    This appears to be par for the course, the way these clowns are treating Mr Conor O’Dwyer, but in this case they have picked on the wrong bloke!

    No doubt the ITV team will be compiling this incident for their programme to ensure these losers receive maximum free publicity in Western Europe.

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