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Aristo boss denies fraud

Theodoros Aristodimou, the founder and managing director of Aristo Developers and former Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, denied defrauding the state during his testimony at the Paphos Criminal Court.

Theodoros Aristodimou denies fraud

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PROMINENT developer Theodoros Aristodemou, on trial in connection with a land zoning case in Paphos, denied on Thursday that he defrauded the state and claimed that his company has been ruined because of the negative publicity.

Aristodemou testified before the Paphos Criminal Court after it ruled last week that there was a prima facie case against him and three others, including his wife, in connection with the demarcation of land in Skali, Paphos.

Aristodemou, his wife Roulla, former municipal engineer Savvas Savva, and Aristo Developers designer Christos Solomonides, have been charged in the case.

The charges include forgery, circulation of a forged document, conspiracy, abuse of authority, and obtaining property under false pretences.

Aristodemou, Roulla, and Savva, have been acquitted of an attempted money laundering charge.

The company had been granted a permit for 177 plots but this was allegedly falsified later by replacing the approved architectural plans with amended ones, which ceded the company an additional area of 2,730 square metres for development at the expense of the legally mandated green space and road network.

The land was estimated to be worth around €1.1m.

He told the court on Thursday that his company never defrauded the state and that it employs experienced personnel who would not engage in illegal acts.

Aristodemou claimed that the publicity surrounding the case, in and out of Cyprus, ruined his company, which was one of the biggest on the island.

He told the court that sales tumbled after the issue emerged in September 2014.

The court heard that the Chinese market was not showing an interest and that his company had been blacklisted.

Aristodemou said his company recorded €160m in profit annually. Sales of real estate in the past ten years reached €800m, he said, with around 30 per cent paid to the state in the form of taxes.

He also said that despite being the chairman of Bank of Cyprus, he never tried to take money abroad when a decision was made to seize deposits to recapitalise the stricken lender.

Aristodemou said he lost deposits, bonds, and shares worth around €80m.

Of the case in question, he said his company had ceded thousands of square metres it could have claimed, with double the value of the land it is accused of taking.

Aristodemou also categorically denied bribing Savva and sought to explain why he had issued two cheques to his own name, worth €5,000 and €20,000, which were cashed in €500 notes.

The businessman was trying to counter the position of the state which said that at around the same time, the former municipal engineer had deposited to his account €20,000 in €500 notes.

Aristodemou told the court that €5,000 were paid so that his terminally ill sister could travel to the UK while the €20,000 was used for holidays with his family.

He added that he asked his employee, who cashed the cheques, to get €500 notes and that he never used plastic and only worked with cash.

The case continues on Monday with Aristodemou’s cross examination by the prosecution.

Readers' comments

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  • Adrian says:

    What annoys me is that they make up stories that they think in their head are so clever and assume that everyone will believe them and not check out the “story” because they are “well respected businessmen”. They are only fooling themselves because nobody believes them. They insult our intelligence. Still even if they are convicted they will probably get a severe case of house arrest because there are no 5 star cell ready yet!!

  • @sue on 2015/05/11 at 1:07 am – No. You must be thinking of someone else.

  • sue says:

    Wasn’t his wife caught at the airport with a suitcase of money? isn’t that fraud?

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


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