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Thursday 16th July 2020
Home Legal Matters Title Deeds issued at last for Froiber Group buyers

Title Deeds issued at last for Froiber Group buyers

CHRIS Iacovides, the liquidator of six out of the eight companies in the Froiber Group, has successfully completed all necessary procedures for the Title Deeds to be issued by the Land Registry for a number of the Group’s apartment buildings, and his focus now is to work towards the issuing of the remainder.

“There has been much press recently regarding alleged demands from buyers by the Liquidator, on behalf of mortgagees,” said Mr. Iacovides “and the time has come to set things straight. Whilst buyers have my sympathy, they must understand that a financial institution which has funded a project and enjoys security against a specific asset is legally entitled to demand money against that security and to refuse to consent to the transfer of shares/Title Deeds, without some financial compensation.”

“I suggest that those who exert pressure and unfair criticism should take a look at the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Cyprus and the Eurogroup, in relation to the residential property market and the regulation of real estate and be concerned with how close we are to property repossessions.”

Having set out his position, Mr Iacovides moved on to discuss the efforts made to issue Title Deeds for the Group companies, namely:

A&G  Property Wise Development Ltd (“A&G”)

A&G was wound up and a Court Order was made ratifying Mr Iacovides’ appointment as Liquidator on 10 May 2010. A&G’s assets are comprised of nine apartment buildings and seven houses.  There are approximately 110 buyers who purchased their property between 2002 and 2008. Recently, Title Deeds have been issued for four apartment buildings.

The other three Group companies were voluntarily wound up on 9 October 2010 and Mr Iacovides was appointed Liquidator by the members and creditors in their respective meetings.

George Andreou Developers Ltd (“George Andreou”)

George Andreou developed three apartment buildings and there were 34 buyers during the same period as mentioned above. Recently Title Deeds have been issued for all three apartment buildings.

Ktimatiki Epiloyis Ltd (“KE”)

KE developed two apartment buildings. There are a total of 10 purchasers who bought their apartments between 1999 to 2005. Separate Title Deeds have been issued for one of the apartment buildings.

Froiber Land Developers Ltd (“FLD”)

FLD’s assets are comprised of two apartment buildings, one of which is part completed. Recently, USB bank approved finance of €350,000 for the completion of the said building and the Liquidator is close to commencing the relevant works.  In total there are 14 buyers who purchased between 2002 and 2006. Title Deeds have not been issued for FLD’s properties and efforts are ongoing.

The Liquidator made it abundantly clear that in order for the transfer of shares of land and/or Title Deeds to be possible, purchasers will be asked to pay various financial institutions, mainly banks, which enjoy security through their mortgages, the Inland Revenue Department for taxes due, as well as sewerage charges, municipal taxes and more. The amounts are calculated proportionally based on the size (m2) of each apartment.

“Unfortunately, the Group does not have other assets beyond what is set out above which could be realised with a view to settling the companies’ liabilities.”

Mr Iacovides explained that during the last 3 years many efforts have been undertaken to facilitate the issuing of the Title Deeds and added that this would not have been possible without the full understanding of the Director of the Inland Revenue and his officers, whom we thank.

“We had a series of meetings and exchanged much correspondence with officers of the Inland Revenue regarding tax matters. Additionally, financial statements for the liquidated companies were prepared and submitted to the Department.”

“Many apartment buildings contained irregularities,” he added, “we therefore submitted statements of intent for the purposes of the town planning amnesty. Following a review of each file by the planning authority and the issuing of the certificate of final approval these were filed with the Land Registry in order for it to issue the separate Title Deeds.”

There are still several files with the Planning Authority for the granting of the certificate of final approval, concluded Mr. Iacovides.

Finally, Mr Iacovides stated that the philosophy of CRI is simple, “We won’t make a drama out of a crisis”, nevertheless, he would like to make it clear that abusive and inappropriate behaviour by buyers towards managers of his office will not be tolerated.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I think that most people understand that a collateral asset attached to a mortgage is the mortgagee’s security in the event the borrower fails to repay the loan.

    However under the unique laws that exist in Cyprus property developers have been allowed to sell on their collateral assets to innocent home buyers without their knowledge but with the full knowledge of the lending bank (At a meeting with my developer’s bank in 2009 they produced a copy of my Contract of Sale).

    At the time of purchase I was not made aware that my home was an asset pledged against a loan made to the developer.

    Furthermore there is no written Agreement between myself and my developer’s lending bank yet unwittingly I find myself in danger of having my primary residence repossessed.

    Under the circumstances the Bank should be made accept the loss for their deceitful methods and reckless lending which has been allowed to run on for more than 10 years.

  2. Dear all,

    I have read, with great interest, the comments made and will resist the temptation to post my responses on this comment feed.

    However, I would love the opportunity to have a face to face debate during which I can answer to your comments and explain the duties, obligations and powers of a Liquidator/Receiver Manager. It might be helpful to bring along your lawyer(s) so that they may proffer advice on issues I wish to raise.

    For those of you interested in attending, please send me an e-mail on chris@crigroup.com.cy and I will make the necessary arrangements.

    Chris Iacovides
    Director CRI Group Ltd

  3. I agree with you Peter.

    I used many of the same arguments. She even admitted the crime, eventually. My lawyers thought a criminal prosecution would follow but the Attorney General of the day did nothing.

  4. @ andyp.

    No just two points for a criminal offences. Actus reus and Mens rea. The wrongful act and the guilty mind. This part of law was laid down by the British and still applies in Cyprus. Traffic offences do not require the Mens rea.

    The Paphos Court was even using ‘Case Stated’ from recent rulings in the UK High Court. The UK is still seen as a example of good practice.

    No loss – so attempted bank robbery? Attempted murder where the bullet misses, no offence. What about trying to lodge a forged will with the court? The list goes on.

    It is an offence to manufacture, make or use a document required for official purposes. Otherwise the land registry would be swamped with forged documents by people just having a go and then walking away once discovered.

    Heck, I may even try to register my neighbour’s property into my name, no problems if I’m caught no loss to anyone.

    Really?

    Her allegation of blackmail by you is hardly a defence to her actions, but an attempt to “muddy the waters”. It has nothing to do with her act, but it worked.

  5. @Peter. As you probably know the realities are different in Cyprus.

    Having reported my lawyer to the police for registering a forged property contract they were not really interested although to be fair they did interview my lawyer after my complaint. She then accused me of trying to extort 100,000 euros from her. When summoned back to the police station to answer her allegations I was much relieved to hear that they did not believe a word she told them.

    If I remember correctly it was explained to me that there were 5 points I had to prove before they could do anything. I could prove 4 but had not been able to prove “loss”. The developer had not defaulted on his loan and technically I had not lost any money. I protested that this was still forgery of a legal document, as subsequently proven at a DBA hearing. The officer said to me “Who do you think writes these laws? Have a nice day.”

  6. @ jon frazer,

    The ECHR decline about 80% of applications it receives. So do not be to disappointed if this happens to you. Remember the time limits.

    Have you considered the Ombudsman? Both Cyprus and the EU have their own Ombudsman.

    The police have NO choice but to accept and record an allegation of a crime. Once a complaint is made of a criminal offence it must be recorded, and a crime number issued, even if there are insufficient facts or evidence to present a case.

    Always ask for a crime number and always, always take shoulder numbers and names. Explain that you will be taking the matter further so you need these details.

    If refused make a complaint to the Chief of Police and the Police Ombudsman.

    That said Cyprus has this strange idea of justice. I gave evidence in Paphos Court in the capacity as ‘an expert witness’ only to have the prosecution and judge making jokes about my qualifications which were good enough for English Courts, from the High Court, the Old Baily to Coroner’s Courts, but not it appeared the Paphos Court after I questioned the poor standard of work carried out by the investigating police officers. At time like this I realise this is really a 3rd World Country.

    That said I have previous made a complaint to the Police Ombudsman and the head of Paphos Police and had replies from both. My complaint was – a reported crime (theft of moeny from a socail club) had not been properly recorded or investigated. So the system does work.

    With regard to your contract. A contract can be varied, but only with the consent of both parties. Details cannot be altered unilaterally.

    A contract is civil law the police only deal with traffic and criminal matters. Civil law requires a solicitor, criminal allegations are dealt with by the police, but may details will overlap into both areas.

    A contract does not allow threats or intimidation or threats to extort monies or further monies not owed. Such threats amount to blackmail. The fact that this is done by a Government employee and the benefactor is the Cyprus Government, and not the employee directly, makes no difference. This is a point not understood by many, and denied by others.

    So the answer to your question. The CID MUST accept and record an allegation of a crime, even if it is then marked as a “No Crime – insufficient evidence” in the police records, but the officers are being idle and taking the easy option hoping you will go away and stop bothering them. And it probably worked?

  7. Peter Davis 9.59 Nov 30th.
    Thank you for your informative comment.

    Re: Your second to last main paragraph.

    I wrote a letter to the Land Registry stating that I would not under any circumstances give way to blackmail or extortion by the developer. (Having paid in full over eight years ago and still no deeds).

    The main copy went to the ECHR where the case is currently being examined. Another copy went to the Inland Revenue. I asked all parties to sign for their copies.

    When presented with their copy, the CID took a different line. They refused to accept my letter, saying that I had a prior legal contract with the developer, and that precluded any possibility of blackmail or extortion. (However flawed and disadvantageous it might be to me).

    The lawyer dropped me in it because he was a pal of the developer and because anyway, that’s how the system works here in Cyprus.

    Have the CID got a valid point?

  8. I would like to make it clear that abusive and inappropriate behaviour by the liquidator and his koumbaros towards innocent property purchasers will not be tolerated.

  9. Now is the time to adopt the scorched earth policy. Burn down your houses and let them take back the land .Then go and tell the world how Cyprus will treat homebuyers and investors, Never give in to these blackmailers.

    “We won’t make a drama out of a crisis, nevertheless, he would like to make it clear that abusive and inappropriate behaviour by buyers towards managers of his office will not be tolerated”

    I just love this geezer . WOULD A NICE BOX OF CHOCKIES BE MORE APPROPRIATE.

  10. I can understand the general wish to shoot the messenger, but the fact is that Mr Iacovides has spelt out the legal position in clear terms. Not only mortgages but also income taxes, transfer taxes, immovable property taxes, rates refuse clearance and so on.

    Unless fraud or conspiracy can be proven, we have been told what is coming and we have been told it in the same week that we heard that Leptos and Aristo and others have not been paying interest on their mortgages for some years now, which the Troika are pressing the banks to declare as non-performing loans and to take the consequential legal action. If these developers go into liquidation, those buyers without title deeds and also without mortgages on their homes will be in the same boat as the others. So much then for “Title Deeds Guaranteed”

    I fear that once some cases have been heard and lost in the courts, most of the rest will collapse.

    My advice? Don’t spend any money you don’t have to on your home. Don’t make it more attractive for the vultures, who will waste no time to come and buy at rock-bottom prices from the liquidators and the banks.

  11. Am I missing something? Bank lends to a developer. Developer develops and sells. Doesn’t make enough to pay back the bank. Bank realises a loss due to unwise loan. Is this not how things work everywhere else? Why is there an “entitlement” like the one this man speaks of?

  12. As much as we must welcome the news that some buyers will be receiving their title deeds and understanding that limited companies are legal entities in their own right – limited in liability, and also in fact that the directors are but employees of those companies. It does not detract from the fact that the action of obtaining mortgages on properties with the knowledge that they were sold and paid for would, in any free, moral, ethical and rational thinking society be questioned and considered fraud thereby making the directors jointly and severally liable. Questions in regard to the lawyers diligence, Banks lending policies, Inland Revenues tax collection methods and governments general impotence and inability to impose a system that is both fair, transparent and serves the needs of the nation and its citizens would under normal circumstances be addressed.

    As one who was forced to pay a total strangers outstanding taxes and fines in order to secure title deeds in the past I can state that the current system stinks and is a self serving legalised extortion. The sooner this is admitted and corrected the better it will be for all citizens and the nation as a whole.

  13. I agree with the previous posts on this article, which is to say that Mr Iacovides has ignored the deceit of developers, lawyers and banks involved in the sale of homes to now beleagered buyers. KD.

  14. EU law covers both direct and indirect discrimination.

    Direct discrimination occures where conditions imposed, deliberatly favour a group of persons.

    Indirect discrimination occures where no discrimination was ever intended, but because of conditions imposed, one group is nevertheless disadvantaged.

    If the majority, or all the persons owning property are expats than the offence of discrimination is complete. Unless those conditions are justified. The onus of proof is on the person making or imposing the conditions. (So not the property owners).

    The offence of blackmail has already been discussed. Interestingly all robberies involve a blackmail, but not all blackmails involve a robbery.

    Whilst it may make good business sense to extract as much money as possible from suppliers/debtors or property owners, can ANY threat be lawfully justified? What about a threat to kill the family pet? Is that OK?

    Saying something such as, I can see from the invoices that you owe ‘X’ amount for your deeds, but unless you pay me a bit extra above what you owe or else? Is clearly a threat to extract money, and that amounts to a criminal offence of blackmail and not good business sense.

    If there are not sufficient funds available to pay back all the secured or unsecured creditors that is THEIR problem and not a problem of the person who has paid in part or paid in full for their home. That is a problem for the people, banks and companies left owing money.

    So live with it Mr Liquidator.

    Peter Davis. Chartered Member CIPD. MICM (Grad) retired (ex police officer & Law lecturer)

  15. I note that the FM editorial ‘Title Deeds, Mr Anastasiades’ posted on this site proposes that the individuals who are up to their necks in this iniquity should be publicly named and shamed. Mr Iacovides seems to believe that a brazen admission dressed up as a wonderful and praiseworthy public service (when actually he is the banks’ pet piranha) is a good way of neutralizing such demands!

    Anyone remember to good old days of the CPAG lawful and peaceful demos outside the offices of dubious lawyers, BoC etc? Why should liquidators be left out? The address of the CRI Group offices in Nicosia can be found easily on the Internet.

  16. Unfortunately, Mr Iacovides has consistently and conveniently ignored the deceit and dishonesty of developers, lawyers and the banks that jointly created this mess. He should realise however, that there are many cases now in the courts and these courts may well disagree with his assumptions that he can repossess the homes of people who were led to believe there were no encumbrances affecting their purchases.

    We will see how tough they talk when the court cases start piling up and the truth of how this mess was created comes out.

  17. He probably sleeps like a log Liz, along with the rest of the “white collar terrorists”

    I agree with you OJB, may you rest in peace!

    In my experience, and I do have some, to compromise with a Cypriot “WHT” is taken as weakness and you will get nothing but more grief.

  18. @Liz. How does he sleep at night? I think a more useful indicator is the poor man’s psychiatric test for a sociopath i.e. the Breakfast Table Test. If such a person can face his wife and kids across the breakfast table and, without a scintilla of a pang of conscience, without a bead of sweat on his forehead, without even a murmur of an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, tell them he is performing a vital service to society with high ethical standards – then he is most likely a sociopath.

    @Pete. Probably. He was also the liquidator who boasted he would find umpteen buyers for bankrupt EuroCypria, none of whom surfaced.

  19. Sleeping at night doesn’t enter into it. This chap is merely the one selected to issue the ransom demand (of the whole Joint Criminal Organisation) that many of us all knew was coming some way back.

    If you give in to blackmailers, they will continue to blackmail. The ONLY way to deal with them is to collectively REFUSE TO PAY!!

    Once they realise that you prefer the hostage to DIE (slowly and painfully, with piece by blood-stained piece being sent back to you in the post…Yuck!) than give in, they will have to change tactic. Which will probably be just another way to scam us but we’ll see.

    Deny the JCO the oxygen of money and it itself will die. The only reason there’s an (completely ineffective) MoU anyway is because the JCO is cash-strapped. Refusing to pay will leave it ever more desperate (and thus willing to take dumb risks which may eventually lead to our salvation). Eventually.

  20. Oh, so that’s alright then is it? Mr Iacovides self-congratulatory article actually reads more like a blackmailer’s prospectus: EITHER pay the developer’s own mortgage debts, his tax debts, his sewerage charges, his municipal taxes, the liquidator’s fees etc etc etc, OR you won’t get your title deeds.

    The unmitigated gall of this geezer!!

  21. I understand the role of a liquidator but Chris lacovides has missed the point.

    These bank and government securities over sold properties were in my opinion obtained through deception and fraud.

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