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Probe into ‘suspicious’ Turkish Cypriot land deal

The cabinet has decided to appoint an investigative committee to look into the purchase of Turkish Cypriot land in Larnaca following an angry row between the present and former Interior Ministers.

THE cabinet decided yesterday to investigate the suspicious sale of Turkish Cypriot land under the previous administration’s watch, a case that has sparked a row with the opposition.

The land, in Dromolaxia, Larnaca, was sold to a Greek Cypriot, and after the coefficients were upgraded, it was sold to the telecommunications authority (CyTA) pension fund in 2011 for around €22 million.

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said the procedure was done at the “speed of light,” suggesting that the whole process had been improper.

And CyTA chose the plot over an adjacent one that was cheaper – by around €4.0 million – bigger, with all the necessary permits and building coefficients.

“All these will be the object of the investigating committee,” Hasikos said after the cabinet meeting yesterday.

Former interior minister Neoklis Sylikiotis accused Hasikos of lying and warned that he could file a lawsuit against him.

Sylikotis said the case had been examined by the House Watchdog Committee, which found nothing wrong, challenging Hasikos to make the file public.

“The case was closed by the Watchdog Committee,” Sylikotis said. “We are talking about libel and slander and I am already looking into the matter with my legal adviser.”

Hasikos said he had nothing personal with Sylikotis and “it is Mr. Sylikiotis’ right” to start legal procedures if he thought he had been slandered.

“It is the previous administration that is under scrutiny. Mr Sylikiotis was a member of the cabinet and the cabinet makes decisions based on the information submitted by the minister in charge,” Hasikos said.

CyTA chairman Stathis Kittis also denied any wrongdoing. He too claimed that parliament had finished examining the case.

“We have no problem and we do not feel fear or guilt. It was an investment like all others.” Kittis said. “The price was very good under the circumstances.”

However, ruling DISY MP Giorgos Georgiou, chairman of the committee, said the investigation was far from over. He also charged that CyTA has so far failed to respond to at least three letters seeking information since last June.

“To date, we have not received any response,” he said. “This issue will be tabled before the Watchdog Committee.”

Probe into Turkish Cypriot land deal

Readers' comments

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  • Frank says:

    Perhaps Minister Hasikos should countersue and file a lawsuit over ex-Minister Sylikiotis’s accusations of lying. I hope they can find competent lawyers.

  • Pantheman says:

    Unfortunately, the article does not state who sold it. TC land can be sold to a GC or anyone else by a TC. if the government sold it then the proceeds must be given to the TC owners.

    The article does not state who is the benefactor of the sale so that we may draw our own conclusions. The whole thing is lacking in facts and thus creating another opportunity for a pop at Cyprus.

    If as is stated in one of the comments, ‘ … connect and insider of government or semi government ..’ the Cyta is a semi-Gov and they would know, right??? So just more fuel for the fire for those with utter contempt for Cyprus.

    It is quite possible some wrong doing was done, but with out the details too many have jumped the gun, so to speak.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    I wonder if they discovered that the Gordian Knot was buried on this land and that’s why its value increased overnight?

    It would be nice to see ‘Count Silicosis’ emerge from his crypt to try and defend the reasoning behind this transaction.

  • John Swift says:

    “Probe into ‘suspicious’ Turkish Cypriot land deal”

    What’s new about a suspicious land deal in Cyprus?

  • Dee Vickery says:

    This will be an interesting one to follow!

  • Mike says:

    I wonder why there is no mention of the ‘keeper of Turkish property’ is that no longer a situation held up as an exemplar. If not how can anyone bemoan the fact that GC property has been misappropriated in the occupied area.

    Sadly the suggestion of ‘artful ways’ and ‘insider trading’ in this case will come as no surprise to anyone vaguely familiar with the modus operandi in Cyprus, so somewhat of a non story perhaps. The practice of purchasing seemingly worthless land, miraculously having it re zoned then selling it on at a vast profit is nothing new at least not to the well connected and if you also connected to government or semi government organisations who suddenly are in the market for exactly what you are offering then bingo. Mission accomplished and everyone around you toasting your exceptional and seemingly unexpected good luck. Next please?

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