Attorney General appoints investigators to look into possible police corruption case

Attorney General appoints investigators to look into possible police corruption case

Nicosia, August 9, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

General Attorney Costas Clerides has appointed three criminal investigators to look into possible criminal offences and alleged involvement of police officers or other persons in cases relating to complicity, corruption and other offences.

The possible offences relate to the events leading up to the murder of 51-year old Phanos Kalopsidiotis in Ayia Napa earlier this year.

“Phileleftheros” daily reported last Saturday that Serbian documents, as well as documents of the Cyprus police, show that the planning and arrival in March of a hit squad from Serbia, to kill Kalopsydiotis, had been influenced by actions by members of the police and the prison services.

Following this, the Minister of Justice and Public Order Ionas Nicolaou and Police Chief, Zaharias Chrysostomou, met on Monday with the Attorney General. In a written statement after their meeting, Nicolaou said that he had handed over a letter to Clerides, requesting the appointment of an Independent Criminal Investigator who will look into the events related to the handling of information conveyed to the Cyprus police by the Serbian authorities.

To this end, Clerides appointed on Tuesday three criminal investigators, namely Andreas Paschalides, former Judge of the Supreme Court and President of the Independent Authority for Investigating Claims and Complaints against the Police, and former high-ranking Police officers Panagiotis Pelagias and Agememonas Demetriou.

A press release issued by the Law Office said that the three will conduct investigations as regards possible criminal offences and alleged involvement of police officers or other persons into cases related to complicity, corruption and other offences, on the basis of information conveyed to the Attorney General`s office in a letter of the Police Chief dated August 2 and in a letter of the Justice Minister dated August 8.

As it is noted, the investigators have been asked to complete their task within three months from the date of their appointment.

According to “Phileleftheros”, Serbian Interpol documents show that, in March, the Cyprus police had informed a member of a gang in Cyprus regarding a plan to kill Kalopsidiotis, which resulted in the postponement of the plan until June.

Serbian Interpol named a specific prison warden who allegedly wired €1,000 to the organiser of the hit in Serbia, and investigations are being conducted to determine if the money was used to transport the hit men to the island.

The Serbian authorities claim that a telephone call was made from a phone booth in the Central Prison in Nicosia to the mobile phone of one of the hit-men.

The Serbian police informed their counterparts in Nicosia that a probable police leak to the Serbian organiser of the hit squad notified him that “The Cypriot police had informed him that he (the Serbian) was being watched and that he would need to change his mobile number as soon as possible.”

Furthermore, the Serbian police claim that when the two hit-men had arrived at the illegal Tymbou airport in Cyprus` northern Turkish occupied areas, and while not expecting to be met by anybody, a Greek Cypriot approached them and showing them a photograph of themselves, told them that he knew why they had come to the island.

Following “Phileleftheros`” report, Police in Cyprus admitted that while investigating the information received by the Serbian Interpol, one of its members had by mistake made a phone call that he should not have made, for which an administrative inquiry was conducted, showing that the phone call was the result “of wrong perception and not a deliberate action related to corruption.”

Businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis was killed on 23 June along with off-duty police officer Elias Hadjiefthymiou and his wife Skevi when masked gunmen stormed the restaurant in Ayia Napa where they were dining. In the attack, a second off-duty police officer, eating with the group, Giorgos Charalambous was seriously injured as was one of Kalopsidiotis’ bodyguards. An Albanian shooter was also killed in the attack.

Source: Cyprus News Agency