INFAMOUS British property developer, Gary Robb yesterday received a 10-month jail sentence for “serious offences” in relation to the exploitation of Greek Cypriot property in the north.
Nicosia District Court ruled that Robb has to serve his jail sentence for the 11 charges of appropriating the land, in Nicosia Central Prison, where he was led after yesterday’s court proceedings concluded.
The sentences on all charges, which include development and sale of property belonging to the Republic of Cyprus and to Greek Cypriots without their consent, will run concurrently.
In passing sentence, the Court said it took into consideration the time Robb had spent in detention “according to article 26 of the EU Council framework decision 2002/584/JHA” as well as the mitigating circumstances relating to the case, such as his admission of guilt, apologies and family circumstances.
The Court described the offences committed as serious, though the sentence could have been greater, as the law provides for a two-year jail sentence and a hefty fine for such offences.
The start date for Robb’s sentence was set as August 3, 2011, when he was extradited to Cyprus by Britain, where he was serving a drugs-related sentence.
Robb was one of the managers of a Turkish Cypriot development company, called “AGA Development LTD” which aimed to build 335 luxury residences in the occupied village of Klepini, in the northern Kyrenia District.
Construction began in January 2005 and by the end of April around 85 per cent of the residencies had been sold for between £50,000 to £100,000 Cyprus Pounds. The project was never completed.
According to data from the Kyrenia District Lands Office, the affected surface area is 273,800 square metres, with 261,589 square metres belonging to Greek Cypriots, 7,550 square meters to Turkish Cypriots and the remaining 4,661 square meters being state property.
This is not the first time foreign nationals have been taken to court in relation to appropriation offences. Many foreigners, in particular British nationals, have bought property illegally in occupied Cyprus.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has, on many occasions, issued advice to British nationals to be aware of transactions involving the sale or purchase of land or immovable property in occupied Cyprus.
British police think that about 400 Britons collectively lost over €40 million (about 35 million British pounds) in deals with AGA Development.
Some of those were told during a 2005 property conference at Colonel Hotel in Kyrenia that they would be no legal problems with buying in the north.