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Aristo acquittal appealed

An appeal against the court decision to clear Theodoros Aristodemou, the founder of Aristo Developers and former chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, has been filed at the Supreme Court by the state.

Theodoros Aristodimou MD Aristo Developers

Theodoros Aristodemou (Photo credit: Ό Φιλελεύθερος)

THE STATE has appealed a court decision to acquit prominent developer Theodoros Aristodemou, his wife, and two others, in connection with a suspicious land development project in Paphos.

The decision was issued by the Paphos Criminal Court on July 28.

Aristodemou, wife Roulla, company draftsman Christos Solomonides, and former municipal engineer Savvas Savva had been charged in relation with the demarcation of land in Skali.

The court had heard that the company had been granted a permit for 177 plots but this was allegedly falsified later by replacing the approved architectural plans with amended ones, which ceded the company an additional area of 2,730 square metres for development at the expense of the legally mandated green space and road network.

The land was estimated to be worth around €1.1m.

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, bribery, and obtaining property under false pretences.

Delivering verdict – which lasted three hours – 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.

The court noted that during the initial police investigation, a statement 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.

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.

Readers' comments

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  • Steve R says:

    Is the Supreme Court based in Cyprus. If so, then what is the use of this action. Theo has got all these type of people in his pocket. Take it to the Supreme Court in London and he will be in jail within weeks

  • Pete says:

    Given the probability the judge and Aristodemou have either met socially or share mutual friends or acquaintances perhaps the main question should be why this case was listed for the Paphos court in the first place? I’ll refrain from sniggering !!

    If justice has to be seen to be administered blindly, would it not have been better, quicker, fairer, more scrupulous, less suspicious, less costly, less damaging to Aristodemou and the judges repute and better all round if the listing was for a court outside ‘local influence’?

    Having said that of course, when the total population hardly exceeds that of Slough, ‘local influence’ does tend to extend to all parts of La La Land.

  • Martyn says:

    I bet the judge lives in an Aristo house a BIG one or am I being cynical.?

  • UBoat says:

    HaHa ha ha ha ha !!!!
    Reminds me of the smash potato adverts …. its so predictable …..
    The puny foreigners we will take their money and smash them all to bits …. ha ha ha ha ha 😆

  • Steve says:

    Well, the clowns are still in charge of the circus! This was botched investigation (police can’t even transcribe a few numbers accurately and no one checks afterwards) followed by a botched prosecution (the prosecutor asks the court to disregard the evidence of the chief state witness because her testimony supports the defence argument better than the prosecution’s) and now the state wants to spend more tax-payers’ money chasing what is probably a lost cause, because it is embarrassed that an apparently open-and-shut case can be lost in this way. Beyond reason doubt requires a certain quality of evidence and witness testimony – both were missing.

    Excuses like pretending that the judge is in cahoots with Mr A will not fix the problems for the next time.

  • Irene J says:

    If you sit and read everything you will realise that they are ALL CORRUPT from the top right down to the bottom. The only people they are fooling are themselves.

  • Deanna says:

    Let’s hope justice is properly done this time.

  • Who Gives says:

    Looks like another cover up to protect Theo which is another case of suspicious land development.

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