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Aristo investigation widens (Update)

The police investigation into the activities of Theodoros Aristodemou, the founder and managing director of Aristo Properties, has widened to probe other developments built by the company.

Kings Avenue Mall (Paphos)

Kings Avenue Mall (Paphos)

THE arrest last week of property developer Theodoros Aristodemou sent shockwaves through the island’s business community and may signal that a clique of businessmen with the ‘right connections’ once considered to be immune from prosecution may now be vulnerable.

Aristodemou was released from the Paphos General Hospital on Sunday and has now been transferred to a private clinic in Nicosia with high blood pressure. An officer from the Paphos Municipality who was also remanded in custody for eight days on Saturday in connection with the same case is being treated at the Limassol hospital psychiatric ward.

According to reports, the Police investigation into Aristodemou and his company Aristo Properties has widened to include other Aristo developments as part of an investigation initiated by the Cyprus attorney-general’s office in July.

Police seized more than 150 project files and computer hard discs when they recently raided the company’s headquarters in Paphos. One of the projects being probed is the Kings Avenue Mall in Paphos, but some of the documents have been reported as being ‘missing’ from the file. Other reports say that some data has been erased from the hard discs.

The Registrar of Companies has written to the Paphos Municipality listing the names of companies in which Aristodimou has interests, either as a director or shareholder.

The Municipality has already handed over 179 files to the police and it is anticipated that the files of these companies will be handed over tomorrow.

A document leaked to the press in May showed that Dolphin Capital Investors Two Limited was one of the Bank of Cyprus’ largest debtors owing €300 million. At that time DCI Holdings 1 Ltd had a 49.75% share in the company, while Theodoros Aristodemou held the remaining 50.25% of the shares.

Aristodemou is also under investigation in connection with collapse of the island’s economy, which includes probes into loans granted by former bank officials; arrests are expected by the end of the year.

While Aristodemou was serving on the Board of the Bank of Cyprus and later as its chairman, Aristo’s debt grew from €25 million in 2006 to €200 in 2011 according to a BoC official.

Aristodemou suddenly stepped down as chairman in 2012 citing ‘health reasons’, which occurred at the time when the BoC decided to seek €675 million in emergency aid after suffering heavy losses.

In December last year the Greek language newspaper Politis reported that Aristo Developers had failed to pay the Inland Revenue €2,376,356.10 Immovable Property Tax by the deadline of 30th November.

Meanwhile it has emerged that complaints have been received about another property developer in the Paphos area for building a specific development without planning permission. This developer has not been named and the municipal engineer is looking into the matter to see if the allegations are justified.

Fifth arrest

On Tuesday, the police arrested a fifth suspect in connection with the Aristo case who is being detained at the Paphos Central Police station and is expected to be brought before the Paphos District Court later today (Wednesday).

Police believe that the 39-year-old, an employee of Aristo Developers, forged the Land Registry plan related to the case.

Readers' comments

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  • AnnDee says:

    I remember Mr A when he first started out and built some maisonettes in Chloraka, but was worried sick in 1987 that they were too far out. They went like hotcakes and he couldn’t build them fast enough. We all called him Theo, knew where he lived and got our title deeds about 3 years after. How he changed.

  • Mike says:

    ….”While Aristodemou was serving on the Board of the Bank of Cyprus and later as its chairman, Aristo’s debt grew from €25 million in 2006 to €200 in 2011 according to a BoC official”….

    It may of course be that their business grew more than 8 fold during that period, I’m sure the tax declarations would prove that one way or another, (as if), of course it may be a fundamental error of Goliath proportions in putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

    I prefer to reserve judgement until conclusion of any legal processes but if anyone has opened a book to bet that no one is actually found guilty of any crime or fraud then it might be a good bet.

    History tells us when all this blows over it will be back to business as usual. You cannot wipe out the modus operandi developed over hundreds of years in a month or ten.

  • Steve says:

    I am wondering just what has caused Mr Aristodemou’s demotion from the Untouchables to the Scapegoats.

    If every Aristo transgression is going to be scrutinised,I foresee that this wider investigation is going to lead to a lot of heartache for those clients of Aristo Developers who are hoping for title deeds sometime soon.

  • Deanna says:

    I think that, out of the next tranche of EU money, some should be used to build a prison hospital adjacent to the main prison. And that is the hospital in which they go for ‘high blood pressure’ or any other pressure. With prison warders as nurses and prison food. And no ‘opt outs’ to go to private clinics.

  • Jim says:

    Are there enough hospital beds in Cyprus to cater for all the elite who get arrested?

  • stevie R says:

    Meanwhile it has emerged that complaints have been received about another property developer in the Paphos area for building a specific development without planning permission. This developer has not been named and the municipal engineer is looking into the matter to see if the allegations are justified.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Let this developer be the one that built our site so they can bring him back from the UK to face the courts along with all the other charges he faced before running away.

  • Zak Sheikh says:

    Well it seems that the financial and legal institutions have been embedded with corruption. The ‘Untouchables’ will be falling like dominoes and not too soon. My advice to the population of Cyprus is that change your mode of thinking and rid yourselves of this cultural epidemic.

  • Ivor Bindafrawded says:

    Its just the tip of the iceberg!!! you need to broaden your search into other banks and developers too!!

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