CROOKED property developer Gary Robb was slapped with an eight-day remand order by a Cyprus court on Thursday for cheating fellow Britons out of millions for holiday homes he could not deliver in the Turkish occupied north of the island.
Robb was arrested in the U.K. under a European arrest warrant and was handed over to Cyprus Police in London on Wednesday.
The Nicosia District Court heard that the 48-year-old Briton is being investigated for conspiracy to commit felony and misdemeanour, unlawful possession, distribution and use of property registered to another person, obtaining money under false pretences and other offenses related to the illegal exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied village of Klepini in the Kyrenia district.
The case focuses on the fact that of the development’s total expanse of about 274,000 square metres, 261,589 belongs to Greek Cypriot refugees who fled when Turkey invaded in 1974, a further 4,661 sq.m. is property held in the name of the Republic of Cyprus and 7,550 sq.m. was owned by Turkish Cypriots.
Robb’s company, Aga Development Ltd., launched the project of 335 villas in August 2004. Construction began in January 2005 and by April 2005, 85% of the buildings were sold.
But the potential owners knew little about ongoing property cases whereby Greek Cypriots had resorted to the European Court of Human Rights and were suing the Turkish government and other occupants of their abandoned properties for illegal use, demanding compensation and return of their properties.
Robb’s lawyer, Giorgos Coucounis, said that Robb “had nothing to do with AGA developments”.
The Cyprus police investigator told the court that so far 25 persons have been questioned in connection with the case and another 27 are pending while a large number of documents have been obtained.
According to newspaper reports, Robb escaped to northern Cyprus after being released on bail for drug dealing in the UK in 1996. After 13 years of hiding out in the north, Robb was recaptured in January 2009 and sentenced to five years in a UK jail.
In June, England’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told the Cyprus Mail he would be extradited to Cyprus based on a European arrest warrant issued by the Cypriot authorities in relation to the usurping of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas.
The newspaper added that the CPS said the warrant listed nine offences and stated that “between 2004 and 2005, the defendant conspired with others (named as Tuncel Tahir Soycan and Akan Kursat Talat) to develop land which did not belong to them, and to sell villas built without permission upon that land by means of false representations to the prospective purchasers”.
Following his release on parole last month in the UK, Robb was re-arrested ahead of his intended extradition.
British police believe around 400 Britons collectively lost in the region of 35 million UK pounds in deals with Robb’s AGA Developments. AGA’s notorious Amaranta Valley project located close to the north coastal village of Klepini still consists of 500 rapidly decaying half-built properties.