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Liasides buyers act now and object to land auction

As reported last Sunday, the Alpha Bank has filed eight applications at the Paphos Land Registry to auction eight plots of land belonging to bankrupt property developer Yiannis Liasides.

ROSIE Charalambous interviewed me last evening on the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation’s programme ‘Round and About’ regarding the Liasides situation and move by the Alpha Bank to auction eight plots of land owned by Liasides at Anarita, Pegeia, Mesa Chorio and Armou.

You may listen to that interview, which lasts 14 minutes – and you may download the Alpha Bank applications, which contain details of the eight sites.

As I explained to Rosie during the interview, one of the aspects that the Director of the Land Registry at Paphos must consider before deciding whether or not to approve the Alpha Bank’s applications is all objections raised to the auction that are raised by interested parties. (In this case, those who have bought homes on any of the Liasides plots at Anarita, Pegeia, Mesa Chorio and Armou).

Liasides buyers act now

Liasides buyers need to file objections to the auction of the plots with the Director of the Land Registry in Paphos quoting the case number, as shown in the applications above, their Contract of Sale reference and their reasons for objecting (i.e because they have homes on the land and stand to lose them if the Alpha Bank auction applications are approved).

Letters of objection should be addressed to:

The Director
Paphos District Land Office
New Governmental Offices
P O Box 60008
8100 Pafos

Those wishing to file their objections in person will find the office near the Paphos Court.

During my interview with Rosie, I spoke of a letter that had been written on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior to an MEP in which an assurance was given that:

“buyers of immovable property are protected, once they deposit the Contract of Sale at the appropriate District Office of the Department of Lands and Surveys according to the Sale of Lands (Specific Performance Law, Cap.232.”

This assurance is very misleading and may give added weight to the objections raised by Liasides buyers and I suggest they include it in their letters to the Director; a copy may be downloaded by clicking here.

Readers' comments

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  • Vlachos the Impaler says:

    Nigel, I wonder if you could run on your site a ‘rogues gallery’ linked to the Alpha/Liasides case, so that we can all see who the named top geezers are at Alpha and those known to have had a hand in this case. I’m sure I am not alone in finding amorphous references to the company just a little too helpful to them. I’m sure they will not mind being outed – after all, they must be really proud of their action and I wouldn’t wonder if they are not even boasting about it.

  • @johbee – I doubt that Yiannis Liasides is living the high life. He spent time in prison for non-payment of taxes and I’m sure if he had the money he would have paid.

    From my understanding Liasides wasn’t a crook as such – he set himself up in a business that failed. Whether he had the business acumen or competence to run a property development business is another matter.

    Class Actions are collective law suits that arise from of a single event, such as an aircraft disaster. There are a number of potential issues – particularly of the case is lost:

    – Only a representative sample of the plaintiffs affected will get their day in court.

    – If the case is lost no-one else can bring the same case again (either collectively or as an individual) because a case can only be tried and decided once.

    – Class Actions are expensive! If the case is lost the plaintiffs may be ordered to pay the costs of the defence as well as their own legal costs.

    Any decent lawyer will be able to advise you on this.

  • Denis O'Hare CPAG says:

    @Nigel

    The guarantor for some of the sites (if not all) is the father of the developer and who is also in the property business. He seems to be a decent man and in the early days was really trying to save the company by taking on more borrowing himself – I met with him several times and the developer’s brother.

    In Cyprus, the banks almost always have a ‘belt and braces’ approach to these mortgages, however if they are not serviced for 10 years (as in one of these cases) the guarantors would struggle to cover the accrued debt and the case would take years in the courts – in any case unfortunately the buyers are an easier target – and there’s more of them!

    However, I can tell you that the Liasides buyers I know are not about to take this lying down – ‘over my dead body’ seems to be the saying I hear the most.

  • johbee says:

    Just out of curiosity where is Mr. Liasides? Living the high life somewhere no doubt? Or perhaps serving a prison sentence for fraud? Why not organise a class action suit against him?

  • @Denton & @Richard – In the situation I referred to in my comments of 1:03 pm yesterday – the guarantor is the son of the developer.

    I doubt very much that one developer would act as guarantor for another – unless they were part of the same group of companies.

    Another question that needs to be asked is why are guarantors needed at all? If the value of the loan collateral is sufficient, there should be no need for guarantors.

    (I recall when I started my business, I needed a loan from the bank to get it off the ground. The bank was happy to use my home as collateral – no guarantors were needed).

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Richard. I’m not so sure it is other developers acting as guarantors for developers. More likely to be family members or gumbaros. As apparently the banks don’t do much, if any, of a financial check on guarantors, it could well be Uncle Stavros who does not have two Euros to his name i.e. the ‘guarantee’ is unenforceable. This could partly explain why the banks don’t chase guarantors first. The other explanation is the bank manager is himself a relative of or gumbaros of the developer and has no qualms about putting his personal allegiances above his professional integrity and fiduciary duty.

  • Richard says:

    The MEP function should 100% be leaning on the banks to pursue the guarantors first. Cyprus is a close-knit incestuous culture and I’d wager the ‘disappearing’ developers (if that’s who the guarantors are – which in 99% of cases is probably so) could be found with pressure being applied in the right places.

    Given what I’ve seen of many of these folks in the last 5 years – I doubt they are a hive of industry in any other part of the globe. They’ll just be lying low.

    Set fire to the scrub grass – drive ’em out into the open.

  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Ian Hardy. Yes, rationally one would expect the EU to thoroughly investigate and even send in a team as you put it. However, I’m not sure how many people realise that implementation of EU legislation and directives is virtually all devolved to the individual member states ‘on their honour’. There is no central monitoring, audit and control function in Bruxelles or Strasbourg which could supervise and ensure the effectiveness of EU requirements within any individual state.

    It is part of the reason we see little corrective action coming from the EU vis-a-vis the Cyprus property scandal. It makes all the fine and sometimes quite tough content of EU Directives quite vacuous as in reality they do not actually direct anything or anyone. They ought to be renamed EU Best Practice Guides because member states like Cyprus either ignore the ones they don’t like or cherry pick the bits they do like.

    The only way that the EU will consider getting involved in alleged implementation failures in a member state is if a breach of EU law can be shown or the EHCR or similar hands down a judgement against that state. EU officials up to the Commissioners themselves avoid getting their hands dirty with messy realities like the Cyprus property scandal. They just want to keep up the ivory tower pretence of EU justice while enjoying handsome pay and perks.

  • @dave – In Cyprus, and indeed in many other countries, land and property on that land are inseparable in terms of Title – so they are one of the same thing.

    But a question that needs to be asked is why the Alpha Bank is not pursuing the guarantors for the loans it made to Liasides?

    Where someone fails to maintain their loan repayments, the bank should approach those who guaranteed the loan before trying to get its money back by auctioning the land on which peoples homes have been built.

    Let’s say that you bought a house using a loan and I acted as your guarantor. If you stopped making payments the bank would come after me for its money.

    (This is identical to another situation I know of in which another bank is not pursuing the guarantor and is threatening the home owner).

  • Ian Hardy says:

    Mike – my comments were directed at the Interior Ministry who lied to the MEP in their letter. Did you read it?

  • @Mike – thank you for your words – but I should point out that Denis O’Hare and the Cyprus Property Action Group are very active in campaigning on behalf of everyone through the European Union.

    As I said in my interview, it is the government’s responsibility to act to improve the situation and it has implemented changes in the law earlier this year. But as it has been mentioned elsewhere it is clear that the laws and the system no longer serve a useful purpose and radical reform is needed.

    If the government is unwilling or unable to implement reforms, the hope is that pressure from the European Union will bring about change.

    We all know that this situation has been allowed to continue by successive governments.

  • Mike says:

    Ian Hardy – Not all of us are as you describe us to be. I will assume you were thinking of a selected band of individuals rather than the whole population.

    Mary – A positive action and one which I replicated a year or so ago with BOC given their policy on lending to developers against land and property already sold to foreigners.

  • Mike says:

    Nigel

    As a Limassolian Villager, formerly refugee and currently in UK I think we all, Cypriot and British alike owe you a debt of gratitude for all you have done on behalf of those who have made their homes on the Island and fallen foul of the antiquated land laws and collusion between big developers, hardly regulated lawyers and unethical agents.

    I am aware of the handful of local developers, lawyers and agents that are honest and operating with integrity but the vast majority, as is now perfectly evident, just worship greed and 20 pieces of silver (so much for our Orthodox faith, of which I am part).

    Can I just register a formal thank you on behalf of all involved in the debacle, I am certain your efforts are much appreciated by all those who have been effected and let’s hope they see a resolution to their woes soon.

  • Mary says:

    I wish I could help these poor people. I will write to the Land Registry today and tomorrow I will go into the Alpha Bank and close all my accounts.

    I hope other people will show their support and do the same as me.

  • Ian Hardy says:

    This is disgusting!

    I have read the letter from the Interior Ministry to the MEP. In your interview you said the statement was “very misleading” but it’s an outright lie!

    Why does’nt the EU send a team to Cyprus to investigate? We all pay their salaries through our taxes. Why won’t they come over and sort out these lying b*st*rds.

  • dave says:

    Surely if push came to shove this could be treated as a ‘leasehold’ situation where the person pays rent on the land. How can someone own the land when another person owns the immovable property a bit like parking your car on a council road and the council saying the car now belongs to them.

  • @Crystal – thanks for your comment and I’m sure that the Liasides people will welcome your support.

    It will certainly do no harm by writing – and I might well put pen to paper and write something myself.

    Objections just to the Paphos LR as it is this one that is dealing with this case.

  • Crystal says:

    Hi Nigel,

    Can anyone write an objection to the Land Registry or is it just those affected by the applications from Alpha Bank.

    I feel very strongly about this and would like put in in writing to the Land Registry.

    Would it help if we all wrote to the Land Registry to make them aware how we all feel about these events.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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