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Corruption investigation delays Chinese deal

The Chinese company intending to invest at the old Larnaca airport is on a watch list of companies under investigation for corruption charges according to a report by state broadcaster CyBC.

THE GOVERNMENT has launched a final effort to save the deal on a multi-million Euro Chinese investment at the old Larnaca airport.

According to a report by state broadcaster CyBC, Cyprus Minister of Communications and Works Efthimios Flourentzou held talks this afternoon with Chinese investor Yang Ki. Last week, the Chinese magnate sent a letter to the government informing them of his intention to withdraw his interest due to time-consuming state bureaucratic processes.

However, it was disclosed that the Chinese company intending to invest at the old airport had been added to the corruption watch list by the Chinese authorities following press revelations concerning Marios Ieronymides. Yang Ki said this was why he was withdrawing interest for the time being – and will make a comeback when the matter has been resolved.

Meanwhile Mr Flourentzou assured that an investigation will be launched as soon as possible into the case of Marios Ieronymides, an associate of Yang Ki, who has been accused of conflicts of interests.

Marios Ieronymides, a top diplomat at the Presidential Palace, resigned following allegations that he benefitted personally from his ‘friendship’ with Yang Ki, sole shareholder of Far Eastern Phoenix, the company that signed a deal with Hermes Airports for a 19 year lease on the old airport.

Readers' comments

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  • Denton Mackrell says:

    Update. My Far East sources say that if Mr Yang Ki’s real intentions relate to casinos then he will get nowhere with a Malta option as there would be no license available. So, the mystery continues.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    It is rumoured that Mr Yang Ki is actually from Macau SAR. This adds another potential spice to the kung po chicken!

    Macau is the casino centre for China and organized criminals are known to flourish in controlling or feeding off the industry. Legit and illegit ops and businessman lie side by side. It makes me wonder if the whole purpose behind Far East Phoenix wanting such a long lease on the old airport was to gain a foothold here in anticipation of relaxation of casino/gambling laws soon. The stated ‘product showcase’ objective just does not stack up on business or practical levels.

    Still, how on earth did the Cy govt’s pre-negotiation due diligence not pick up on any dubious aspects of Mr Ki? Oh, silly me! They probably don’t know what a due diligence investigation means, let alone do one.

  • @mbEyes – Yes, I believe that Far Eastern Phoenix was added to the watch list as a result of Marios Ieronymides’ alleged conflict of interest.

    I don’t believe the Cyprus government has ever blamed the Chinese for the delay, which is all to do with the time taken to address the Chinese request for a 31 year extension.

    As Hermes lease on the airport runs out in 19 years, they could not agree to an extension. So the decision on whether to grant an extension to Far Eastern Phoenix was in the government’s court.

  • Ann Othervictim says:

    Can’t wait for the next hilarious episode in this comedy saga.. . . . .
    So funny it must be fiction, surely?

  • Pete says:

    Too farcical to be true; but this is Cyprus !!!

  • mbEyes says:

    “…the Chinese company intending to invest at the old airport had been added to the corruption watch list by the Chinese authorities following press revelations concerning Marios Ieronymides”.

    Nigel, was it added to the watch list BECAUSE of MI? If so, then that must be the ultimate irony: the government failing to sign on the deal because one of its own key employees had a conflict of interest. All the while they’re blaming the Chinese for it not finalising.

    As it’s been said – you couldn’t make it up.

  • UBoat says:

    Corruption ! Conflict of interest ! Under investigation !
    WOW sounds right up the Cypriot Governments street, talk about the “The Pot calling the Kettle Black”

    You could not make up a sit comm like this …….

    Regards

    UBoat

  • Costas Apacket says:

    So the Cypriot Government has been negotiating for many months with a company that was, apparently, under investigation for possible corruption and the Government has only just thought to mention this when the deal has gone t*ts up, but all along the Government has been saying that they desperately want the deal to go ahead?

    Of course this could mean that it wasn’t the fault of the Government that the deal fell through at all, and means that their incompetence and red tape wasn’t to blame in any way.

    You couldn’t make it up could you?

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