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Aristo innocent

Theodoros Aristodemou, the founder of Aristo developers and former chairman of the Bank of Cyprus and three others have been found innocent of all charges relating to the alleged illegal division land at Skali.

Theodoros Aristodimou of Aristo Developers innocentTHE FOUNDER of Aristo Developers and former chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, Theodoros Aristodemou, his wife Roulla and the former municipal engineer Savvas Savva have been found innocent of all charges relating to the illegal division of land at Skali.

The decision of the court was announced following a three hour speech by the President of the Paphos Criminal Court.

They charges were in connection with permits that had been granted for 177 land plots in Skali, allegedly falsified later by changing the architectural plans. These changed plans enabled the company to build on 2,750 square metres of land that had been earmarked for green spaces and pavements.

The land had an estimated value of €1.1 million.

In its verdict, the Paphos criminal court cleared the defendants of all charges. These included forgery, circulation of a forged document, conspiracy, abuse of authority, and obtaining property under false pretences.

Reading out the ruling presiding judge Dora Sokratous said the state prosecutors had failed to prove intent to defraud the public beyond a reasonable doubt.

The court concluded that, despite “certain irregularities” in the paperwork and the manner it was compiled, there was no deliberate intent on the part of the accused to secure a town planning permit under false pretences or to conceal the true dimensions of the green area within the land in question.

“We have heard several witnesses testify and analyse situations, and their sincerity was not questioned,” Socratous noted.

“The difficulty in this case lay in the interpretation of the motives behind the recorded facts of the case. The witnesses relayed the events as they understood them.”

The court noted that during the initial police investigation, a deposition by a Paphos municipality technician had pointed to discrepancies in the company’s architectural blueprints as these were submitted to the municipality.

It subsequently emerged during the trial that the police investigators had incorrectly transcribed the numbers cited by the technician.

The technician, Savoulla Kouspou, took the stand for the prosecution. During the end-stage of the trial, the state prosecutor had asked the court to strike her testimony from the record.

The court took note of this: “It cannot be that any witness for the prosecution expressing views that lend credence to the account of the defence should be declared untruthful.”

On the alleged bribery of former municipal engineer Savvas Savva by Aristodemou, the court likewise said this was not proven.

According to police findings, Aristodemou cashed a cheque for €20,000 in €500 notes in August 2010.

Two days later, Savva was found to have deposited the same amount, in notes of identical denomination, to his own bank account.

The court said that although the proximity of the two dates “may create suspicion, it is not sufficient, based on the defendants’ testimony, to lead to a certainty of guilty.”

Savva, who was facing charges of corruption, claimed the money had come from his aunt and uncle.

Speaking to the media later, Aristodemou hailed the decision, saying that justice had been served.

The developer spoke of his trials and tribulations, contending that a conspiracy had been concocted to ruin him, his family and his company.

“We hope that…we are the last victims of such organised endeavours. It is a pity for innocent people to be pilloried and destroyed,” said Aristodemou.

“The injuries that remain, despite today’s ruling, are too great, and I am not sure how these injuries can be healed,” he added.

“All that we ask for is that no more people are victimised through similar persecutions and machinations. This is why, and not for vindictive reasons, that we shall look into moving legally against those who deliberately participated in committing this crime.”

Readers' comments

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  • Douglas says:

    The corruption in Cyprus is overwhelming at times and is now getting International exposure which in turn will have a negative impact on the country as a whole.

  • New to Cyprus says:

    We have lived here just over a year and heard many stories about the corruption in Cyprus. I think there is no big surprise on the verdict!!!

    Hopefully things get better :-)!

  • Steve says:

    It’s disturbing to see so many writing off this “not guilty” verdict as a foregone conclusion because someone bribed someone. The onus of proof is on the prosecution and if they fail to make a case beyond reasonable doubt then the defendants walk away and are free to sue the police for malicious prosecution, for which Mr Aristodemou has the funds or can borrow against his property portfolio – land that his business owns.

    What we should be looking at is the reasons why an apparently stone-cold certainty, with a witness admitting that the practice of fiddling plans is commonplace in Cyprus, ends up with the prosecuting council asking the court to ignore the evidence of his prosecution witness because it substantiates the defence’s version!

    What we are seeing is gross incompetence and a botched trial – plead innocent and let the police mess it up. The root cause is the political interference and civil service mentality that pervades Cyprus and has caused the demise of, for example, Cyprus Airways. We all have to hope that the new residents that Cyprus is attracting from the East are not members of gangs. They would have a field day here.

  • Mike says:

    Franks comment is about right. Did we really expect any other outcome?

  • Richard says:

    “Certain irregularities”.

    The whole island is certainly irregular – that’s for sure!

  • Frank says:

    The headline “Aristo innocent” is a little misleading. More accurate would be: “Cyprus court fails to confirm guilt”!

  • Deanna says:

    “According to police findings, Aristodemou cashed a cheque for €20,000 in €500 notes in August 2010.

    Two days later, Savva was found to have deposited the same amount, in notes of identical denomination, to his own bank account.”

    Says it all.

  • Irene says:

    What a Joke!! I’m going to my aunt and uncle to give me €20000 in cash as they don’t have a cheque book!! Corruption is still going on in Cyprus, and if you have the money you can get away with it. Disgusting.

  • houlou says:

    He is to also seek compensation now……now words can describe how sick this system males me, vergas for sure will get off too

  • UBoat says:

    No surprise there then …….. Some one is sitting pretty with a bloated offshore account after that then…….

    You might as well wave goodbye to all title deeds now and any justice and fair play…..

  • Martyn says:

    Corrupt to the very core always knew the result money talks at this level, look out ex pats, holiday makers scams in Cyprus are rife same as Greece.

  • Steve R says:

    The law is the law, even if you do make it up as you go along. The guy Savva must have very generous relations who just happen to have £20K laying about at home, and in cash.

    Not Guilty was the only verdict they could come to.

  • Pete says:

    One might ask how and why this case was kept at a local court? Given the circles in which these people move I very much doubt if the judge and the accused had never met socially at some time; and I’m being generous in my assumptions.

  • Cyprus resident says:

    What did you expect, money and power and who you know guides the system!!

  • clive of Payia says:

    Gosh, I am surprised at the verdict. You could see the brown envelopes fluttering down on the Courthouse.

  • pils says:

    Just what we all know about Cyprus inner workings, rotten to the core, I smell money ?

  • houlou says:

    Bet you he will also get compensated for tainting his ooooh so clean image.

  • Deanna says:

    Only in Cyprus.

  • Aggis Demetriou says:

    Damn right he’s innocent. You didn’t think he was going to prison did you?
    W T C

  • Carol says:

    Wonder how much that cost him.

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