A NEW kind of fraud is now manifesting itself, and it is sponsored by the state. A friend of mine was delighted when his developer called him to arrange an appointment with the Limassol Land Registry in order to collect his Title Deeds. It had only been five years since their contract was lodged and he and his wife were looking forward to the security of truly owning their property in Cyprus.
At the Land Registry they were dealt with by a very pleasant young lady who informed them that there was a problem with the valuation of their property and they would have to meet with her boss. He told them that their property had now been re-valued and was now worth a hundred thousand Euros more, which meant that they would have to find a further five thousand Euros in property transfer fees and that one of them should go to the bank and withdraw this money immediately.
Unfortunately for the Land Registry official, my friend was not born yesterday, has a colourful temperament and Birmingham street sense. He flatly refused, saying that he neither had the money, nor the inclination to participate in a fraudulent claim based on a mythical valuation that increased the value of property in a falling market. The official stated that they could not leave and it was the law that they should have their Title Deeds.
My friends refused and said they would only pay property transfer fees on what they paid for the property. They were left in his office for over half an hour, whilst a queue developed in the waiting room. The boss and the young assistant went away to consult his superior. How many bosses are we paying for with our taxes?
Eventually, nearly five hours after their arrival, my friends left the Land Registry having paid only the original sum for their Title Deeds. Therefore stubborn intransigence prevented this state sponsored fraud. Oh, and as an afterthought, the Land Registry pointed out that his property was comparable with the other two-storey properties with swimming pools in the same development. In reality he lives in a small bungalow with a compact garden too small to house a swimming pool.
Perhaps if some of the bosses in the Land Registry had done their jobs more thoroughly, they might have discovered this error!