POLICE yesterday made public the name of a Cyprus property developer under investigation for several cases of alleged fraud including selling the same property twice.
The force’s deputy spokesperson Lefki Solomontos said the company under investigation is K & M Famagusta Developers, which has had eight complaints filed against it since 2007 – seven in Famagusta and one in Larnaca.
“There were consultations with the Attorney-general today and it was judged necessary to publish the name of the company for the protection of the public,” Solomontos told reporters.
The cases mainly concern alleged forgery, obtaining money and property under false pretences and usurping property belonging to another person.
Solomontos said four of the cases are on their way to court, two are under investigation and two others will not be brought go to court on the instructions of the Attorney-general’s office.
In one of the cases, the developer allegedly sold the same flat twice and when he was asked to return the money to one of the buyers he issued him a dud cheque twice.
But the buyer could have found out early on – before he was left with a €120,000 in debt – if the Larnaca land registry office did not make a mistake and allow the submission of both sales agreements.
Chairman of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association (CLBDA) Lakis Tofarides said yesterday such a thing was very rare.
“I’m in the profession for 33 years and have never heard of such a mistake before,” he told the Cyprus Mail of the land registry error.
He advised buyers to submit the sales contract to the land registry for security and check for title deeds and building permits.
“It is the golden rule,” he said.
Tofarides said there were many people out there operating as developers – over 1,200 – and only 120 registered in the association.
“Anyone with a pick-up truck, a cement mixer and a trowel can become a developer,” he said. “People should not get carried away by appealing prices.”
In a statement issued earlier CLBDA condemned the company’s alleged illegal activities and said K & M Famagusta Developers was never a member of the association.
The association said the furore has once more created the wrong impression about Cyprus’ legal land developing businesses, whose aim is the protection and service of customers and the profession.
The contractors association welcomed the decision by the authorities to publish the name of the company, which was not their member.
The association said the activities of the company were known to the Contractor Registration and Oversight Council, which struck K & M Famagusta Developers off its registry 18 months ago.
Chairman of the contractors Costas Roushas said the company had disobeyed orders to stop its activities after its licence was suspended.
“When building, a valid contractor’s licence is needed,” Roushas said. The association found various building sites where the company was still active.
But even court summons servers could not locate the owner, Roushas said.
The association said they have introduced a member card for registered contractors, which is now the most reliable proof.
K & M Famagusta Developers responded yesterday with a written statement saying: “With reference to the police announcement about our company, we wish to announce there is no problem, and the company has the financial means and the ability to cover any legally justified demands from any buyer or investor in our company.”
It added: “We would also like to state that our company is probably the only one in the sector that doesn’t owe even one euro to the banks.”