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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-06-06

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Tuesday, June 6, 2000

CONTENTS

  • [01] CY pilots trade pay for promotion
  • [02] Colonel ‘admits to tampering with evidence’
  • [03] ‘Busy’ Efstathiou secures five-month delay in ex-bishop’s trial
  • [04] Papadopoulos: we should complain to the IMF
  • [05] Kyprianou launches initiative to break fuel deadlock
  • [06] Volumes soar to near record highs
  • [07] Man kills himself after shooting wife
  • [08] Fanieros among four charged with share fraud
  • [09] ‘Denktash turning talks into a joke’
  • [10] Deputies to go to New York to lobby Annan on missing
  • [11] Missing soldier held by Turks
  • [12] New passport regime for EU and associates only
  • [13] Man sent for psychiatric treatment after police station attack

  • [01] CY pilots trade pay for promotion

    By Jean Christou

    CYPRUS Airways (CY) pilots have agreed to half a million pounds worth of concessions, including lower entry wages, in exchange for captain promotions at Eurocypria, the airline's charter arm.

    But Eurocypria pilots, who say they never agreed to the deal, have already set up a strike committee, which meets this morning. "We will not vote on strike action immediately but we are preparing ourselves," sources at the charter firm told the Cyprus Mail last night.

    They say CY management is violating their collective agreement, which says captain vacancies should go to Eurocypria pilots with three years’ experience in the company.

    CY pilots have for years been censured for their high salaries, which makes the deal a small victory for management.

    The new scales for promotion to captain will drop from an entry level £12, 700 per annum to £10,600, rising at some £400 per annum, while co-pilots who currently enter at a basic salary of £5,400 will be receiving £4,500.

    The amounts may look small, but wages will still be high for the airline's 140 or so pilots.

    Senior captains currently earn a basic salary of only £15,000, according to their pay scales, but with expenses and benefits, some are walking away with £60,000-£70,000 a year. Co-pilots are earning as much as £45,000 a year.

    CY pilots union Pasipy voted to accept the lower wages at a general assembly last Friday, the results of which were announced yesterday.

    "We didn't get a lot in return," said Pasipy chief Chris Christodoulou. "We are going to be promoted within Eurocypria as per the agreement."

    According to the agreement management made with Pasipy, CY co-pilots will receive the lion's share of captain positions within the charter firm. They want the posts because CY is top heavy with captains, which has left some CY co-pilots with little chance of promotion to captain within the national carrier's usual seniority time scale.

    Last week, CY promoted four Eurocypria co-pilots to captain. The charter firm says the four promotions out of a total of nine were only given with the aim of pressuring the CY pilots to agree on Friday to the lower entry pay for new pilots.

    But Christodoulou said the issue of whether their Eurocypria colleagues agreed or not was for them to sort out with CY management.

    "We don't bear any grudge,' he said. "But they can't have it all for themselves. You have to give and take a little in life."

    But for Eurocypria pilots it's a matter of legality. They say they have a clear agreement on promotions, which was tested last year in an identical case sent to labour arbitration, which they won.

    They claim CY's chairman is afraid of the damage Pasipy can wreak on the company by grounding the airline in high season, as it did last summer over the first Eurocypria promotion.

    "This is a chance for him (the chairman) to get something back and look good by finding a way to reduce costs," Eurocypria sources said. "And he is paying for it with something that doesn't belong to him."

    The sources said Eurocypria would have no other choice except industrial action. "It works. Pasipy did it and now they are winning," the sources said.

    CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said last night he had no knowledge of Pasipy's decision and that the airline's chairman was abroad.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [02] Colonel ‘admits to tampering with evidence’

    By George Psyllides

    A NATIONAL Guard Colonel who blew the whistle on a "clandestine paramilitary group" allegedly operating in the army could be in hot water today after being interviewed by police and allegedly admitted to tampering with evidence that ‘proving’ the group's existence.

    Colonel Avraam Marangos underwent exhaustive questioning at CID headquarters yesterday after new evidence linking him to the case came up during the criminal investigation.

    It was Marangos who in April handed the ‘incriminating’ documents to Akel deputy Costas Papacostas, who went later public with the claims that Disy had tasked a paramilitary group to keep tabs on the political persuasions of National Guard officers.

    During yesterday's lengthy questioning, Marangos allegedly admitted that the handwriting on two of the five documents was his.

    Reports said he had confessed after graphologists matched Marangos' writing with handwritten notes on two of the documents.

    Police said last night they were now seeking the person who is thought to have drafted the diagram outlining the structure of the paramilitary group.

    Marangos could now face criminal charges for allegedly falsifying evidence and misleading police investigation.

    A military inquiry at the weekend found evidence that Colonel Loizos Fessas had drawn up the documents, but said there was no evidence of a larger paramilitary group.

    Fessas has denied drawing the diagram.

    Yesterday, CID Chief Tassos Panayiotou presented the criminal investigation file to Attorney-general Alecos Markides, who, in light of the new evidence, returned it, asking police to probe further into the issue.

    Earlier yesterday, Akel deputy Costas Papacostas had disputed the findings of the military probe, claiming it had been influenced by Disy.

    The inquiry was ordered last month by Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos after Papacostas made his allegations.

    Yesterday, Papacostas said the findings underestimated people's intelligence.

    He claimed the documents allegedly found on Fessas could not have been drafted by him alone.

    "Can anyone ever believe that a colonel with so many years of service would be so frivolous as to sit by himself and draw diagrams outlining the structure of the group," Papacostas said.

    The document allegedly found on Fessas showed that he and five other army officers, as well as one Disy employee, were active in the group.

    Two retired generals were also named on the diagram as leaders of the group.

    On Saturday, Hasikos assured that Fessas, the only one against whom there was some evidence, would be investigated for breaking the National Guard's disciplinary code.

    Fessas admitted he had authorised the document, but denied he had anything to do with other documents relating to the clandestine committee.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [03] ‘Busy’ Efstathiou secures five-month delay in ex-bishop’s trial

    Staff reporter

    THE DISGRACED former Bishop of Limassol, Chrysanthos, will not be tried on fraud charges for another five months because his lawyer has too much work to get through.

    Chrysanthos' trial, on charges of defrauding a British-based investor out of $3.7 million, was due to begin before the Criminal court, convening in Nicosia, yesterday morning.

    The Bishop turned up in his customary black priest's robe, but was only in the courtroom long enough for his lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou, to ask for, and secure, a postponement till November.

    Efstathiou, one of the island's best-known defence lawyers, said he had a very heavy workload and needed more time to prepare his defence.

    The prosecution and the three-judge bench raised no objection to the request for a postponement.

    The case will now be heard on November 13, 14 and 15.

    After the brief hearing, a confident-looking Chrysanthos told reporters: "I feel fine, I have complete confidence in the justice system and I will be proved innocent."

    The 68-year-old ex-Bishop could face jail if convicted of attempting to defraud a British-based investor New Zealander Gerald Chambers out of $3.7 million.

    Chrysanthos has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud and attempting to obtain money under false pretences. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in jail.

    It is alleged that Chrysanthos offered Chambers a 200 per cent per month return on his investment but that the New Zealander got cold feet after he became suspicious of the deal.

    According to the charge sheet, the then Bishop conspired with Laurence Edward Olsen and Shirley Anne Rhodes to entice Chambers into a suspect investment scheme which would see his money wired into a joint account at the Serbian offshore Karic Banka in Nicosia. Chrysanthos then allegedly tried to persuade officials at the bank to transfer the $3.7 million to his own account with the Kredientbank in Brussels. The charge sheet states that the Bishop falsely claimed he had secured a bank guarantee from the Kredientbank for the benefit of Chambers.

    The offences are alleged to have taken place in Nicosia, Limassol and London between April and June 1997.

    The former Limassol Bishop is also under investigation for allegedly defrauding two Portuguese investors of $1.5 million, in a scam similar to the Chambers case.

    Chrysanthos resigned from his position in November 1998 when the Holy Synod met to decide his fate as allegations of financial misdeeds mushroomed.

    The Synod suspended Chrysanthos from carrying out church services for two years.

    However, he still kept his residence, servants and salary from the church.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [04] Papadopoulos: we should complain to the IMF

    By Melina Demetriou

    DIKO'S parliamentary spokesman Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday lashed out at the IMF, saying its warnings about the economy could ruin the country's reputation and calling on the government to lodge an official protest against them.

    Papadopoulos told the House Finance Committee the IMF wanted the Cyprus economy to align with the EU's tax system, "but EU counties do not have a common tax policy. There are many differences between countries' policies regarding taxation."

    "As regards to the worryingly high figures of the fiscal and public deficits, the inflation and the external current account deficit, there is nothing new in the report. The Finance minister as well as other Cypriot economists and members of this committee made note of all these problems before and analysed them thoroughly, as well as discussed other points mentioned in the IMF report, i.e. the need to liberalise the financial system and external capital flows," Papadopoulos said.

    "The government should not sit back and accept this defamation of the country's economy. It could harm the country. The report is full of generalisations and has been repeating the organisation's views on our economy since 1990. The government should send the IMF a letter of complaint."

    He added that Cyprus was not dependent on the IMF like other countries that had a heavy debt burden, so it was unnecessary to give the international organisation so much credit.

    An interim IMF report said last month the Cyprus economy was falling behind that of other EU candidates because of high public deficits and rising inflation.

    "As a result of these developments, Cyprus, which was once well ahead of other EU candidate countries, has now lost its economic advantage and risks falling behind. This is especially worrying since the economy has always been Cyprus' strong card in its bid for membership," the report said.

    Disy's Prodromos Prodromou agreed the report could be damaging for Cyprus.

    But the solution was to address the issues raised, he said.

    He said the IMF report made a lot of valid points and that a repetition of the organisation's views would not harm the country's economy.

    "The IMF is internationally recognised as a serious and prestigious organisation, and has generated a philosophy which paves the way ahead for many universities and other global organisations and banks. Therefore, we cannot ignore its findings," Prodromou said.

    Foreign investors could be influenced and put off by the report so Cyprus needed to take measures and tackle those problems, he added.

    "I do not think the report is offensive to the country's economic policies and institutions. But it should raise awareness of the dangers we are facing because we are indeed falling behind in comparison to other EU candidate countries."

    "As far as complaining to the IMF, that would be unthinkable. Only poor, undeveloped and dictatorial countries which are in deep economic trouble bother doing something like that."

    Finance Minister Takis Klerides said: "I do not think the IMF preliminary report is something so important for the committee to discuss and argue about. The organisation's representatives who came to Cyprus did not conduct a thorough study looking into books. There were just given some facts and figures by us, and they came to some conclusions. The IMF final report has yet to be published.

    "But the findings must be taken in consideration. We do not have to put in effect each and every measure they are suggesting at once."

    The government had put forward a set of suggestions outlined in a three- year plan to bring the economy back on track, the minister said.

    A lot of the IMF recommendations, including on taxation and cutting down the fiscal deficit, were included in the plan.

    "An obvious risk we are facing is that a not so positive image of the Cyprus economy projected by an IMF and other organisations' reports, such as Moody, would cause foreign organisations lending money to Cyprus to put up a higher interest rate."

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [05] Kyprianou launches initiative to break fuel deadlock

    By Martin Hellicar

    HOUSE of Representatives president Spyros Kyprianou yesterday announced a personal initiative to save the island from a looming fuel crisis.

    The House, the government and oil importing companies are currently on a collision course over fuel.

    The House refuses to approve unpopular petrol pump price rises and the government is loath to continue subsidising oil imports to the tune of £5 million a month.

    Rising international oil prices and the weakness of the Cyprus pound have dramatically raised the cost of importing petrol in recent months.

    Oil companies say they cannot afford to bring in any more crude unless their income is boosted by subsidies or pump price rises. Oil Companies' spokesman Takis Lefkaritis repeated this position yesterday, saying it was not a threat but an "expression of realities".

    Current oil reserves on the island are enough to last till the end of the month only.

    Kyprianou yesterday said it was time to take another look at the way pump prices were set. The House president is calling the leaders of all parliamentary parties to a meeting to discuss the issue ahead of Thursday's plenum session.

    In a letter sent to party leaders yesterday, Kyprianou spoke of the need to protect consumers and look at the profits made by oil importers.

    "We need to study the whole system for supplying oil," Kyprianou stated.

    He told reporters he was hopeful his intervention would break the ice between the House, government and oil companies so that some compromise could be found.

    "I imagine, I hope, this move of mine will be appreciated. I hope this move will create an opportunity for communication which will be based on objective criteria and not on other criteria which are the interests of one or the other," Kyprianou said.

    The cabinet, which last week failed to get a pump price bill through parliament, is due to re-examine the fuel issue tomorrow.

    The price hikes the cabinet tried to get through the House would mean petrol costing 44 instead of 40 cents a litre and diesel 16.6 instead of 14.6 cents a litre.

    These prices did in fact come into effect for about 29 hours last week.

    Prices at pumps were raised as soon as the relevant bill was tabled before the House on Wednesday afternoon, only to be adjusted downwards again when the bill was thrown out by the House plenum on Thursday evening.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [06] Volumes soar to near record highs

    By Michael Ioannou

    BUYERS in small and medium cap shares pushed volumes close to year highs on the bourse yesterday, outmanoeuvring blue chips.

    Although the CSE all-share index was virtually stagnant at 532.92 points with a 1.05 point, or 0.2 per cent gain, investment, tourism and companies in the ‘other’ sector sparked a flurry of buying activity, pushing traded values up to £53.2 million.

    The volume was one of the highest recorded on the market this year. The highest turnover was registered in mid-April, when it topped £57 million.

    Companies in the other sector, which encompasses firms ranging from financial services to cruise lines and dot-coms, generated the highest turnover activity of £21.5 million.

    Newcomer Constantinos Bros hotels had a sterling debut, opening at 75 cents and lurching to a close of 98 with 5.25 million shares changing hands, the day's highest.

    Traders said that many investors who bought blocks at 55 cents each in a recent IPO of 48.2 million shares had initially placed sell orders, but later withdrew them when the share startedits ascent.

    Constantinou Bros owns three luxury hotels in Paphos and projects an operating profit of £4.7 million this year on a turnover of £10.9 million -- up from £7.5 million in 1999.

    It floated 160,714,286 ordinary shares.

    "This is a very special day for us. We had every expectation that the share in the company would surge," said Andreas Constantinou, co-founder of the company with his brother Agathocles.

    Small caps continued to be a must have for investors on perceptions they could be takeover targets.

    "There is not much movement on banking stocks but investors are turning to small caps instead. There have been recent moves on acquisitions in the sectors and this gives the market a boost," said trader Michalis Xiouros of Laiki Investments.

    Dodoni continued to move on speculation, neither confirmed or denied by the firm, that it could switch sectors from investments into the other category.

    Companies in the other sector have greater flexibility to make investments in contrast to the rigidity offered in the investment category which dictates investments should be made in firms presently listed on the market.

    Dodoni, also touted as a possible takeover target by companies seeking a quick listing into the market, was the second highest traded yesterday with 3.4 million shares changing hands. It edged up slightly to a last trade of 30 cents, more than double its net asset value of 14 cents reported last week, a fact which traders said dictated extreme caution.

    Speculation that larger firms would move in on smaller ones transpired at least in the case of Efremico, the investment company in the other sector.

    MarketTrends, the financial services firm based in Nicosia, confirmed yesterday that it planned to mount a bid to take a controlling 50 + 1 stake in the firm.

    However Efremico founder and principal shareholder Nicos Efrem has rebuffed the offer, and said yesterday he did not think that the bid could be successful.

    He was also quoted as telling one newspaper at the weekend that he considered the bid hostile.

    Efremico shares scored one of the highest gains yesterday of 73 cents, ending at £2.97 on 326,296 shares changing hands. Associate firm Knossos registered a jump of 14 cents as 2.7 million shares changing hands.

    Europrofit, another candidate for a takeover by CLR Financial Services, continued to climb after its debut last week. It garnered 32 cents to a last trade of £4.22.

    Its continuous climb sparked questions from some quarters yesterday.

    "There is no information on why this company is advancing in this manner. There is a bid to take control of the company but the offer is significantly lower... we have tried to fathom (the jump) but it is beyond our logic," said Expresstock's Adonis Yiangou.

    CLR are offering £1.41 for each Europrofit share.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [07] Man kills himself after shooting wife

    By Jean Christou

    A PAPHOS woman whose husband killed himself after shooting her late on Saturday night was in a stable condition yesterday, doctors said.

    Eliza Papantoniou, 39, sustained wounds to the shoulder blade and lung after being shot twice by her husband Nicos Papantoniou 50.

    Doctors at Paphos hospital told the Cyprus Mail yesterday she was out of danger, in a stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.

    Antoniou was shot by her estranged husband outside the family home in Polis Chrysochous at around 10.50pm on Saturday night.

    He fired twice from a shotgun as she was getting out of her car, before fleeing the scene.

    One of the couple's daughters, aged 15 and 19, rushed out of the house when she heard the shots and found her mother on the pavement in a pool of blood screaming that she had been shot.

    When police arrived, they found her husband's body 50 metres away. He had shot himself in the head.

    The woman was rushed to Polis hospital and later transferred to Paphos, where she underwent emergency surgery.

    Her husband is understood to have been hiding in a field opposite the house, waiting for Eliza to come home.

    The couple, who lived in South Africa until last year, separated four months ago after a series of domestic rows, to which police were called on several occasions, reports said.

    The couple also had a son who stayed in South Africa when the family moved back to Cyprus.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [08] Fanieros among four charged with share fraud

    FOUR men were yesterday charged and referred to the Assizes court, where they will stand trial on suspicion of swindling a Dherynia businessman of £143,000 worth of shares.

    Among the four was Larnaca club owner Antonis Fanieros, 55, from Aradippou, who was charged with nine counts of fraud.

    Businessman Vassos Hartoumbalos, 32, from Vryssoules will have to answer to the same charges, while 33-year-old George Stylianou, alias Arapoui (little Arab), was charged with five counts of fraud.

    Petros Georgiou, 31, also from Vryssoules, was charged with four counts.

    Costas Constantinides, prosecuting, said on March 14 the four men conspired in forging and circulating two cheques made out to George Alexandrou by Severis and Athienitis brokerage.

    The court heard the men swindled £73,000 from businessman George Kossifos, and £70,000 from stockbroker Theodoros Trisvei.

    Hartoumbalos allegedly impersonated Alexandrou to sell 37,500 of his Bank of Cyprus and Louis Cruise Lines shares.

    After receiving the cheques from the brokerage the men allegedly forged Alexandrou's signature at the back of the cheques and cashed them through the unsuspecting businessmen.

    The trial will begin on June 30.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [09] ‘Denktash turning talks into a joke’

    By Jean Christou

    THE government yesterday accused Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of ridiculing the upcoming July talks after he said he would return to the island for the 1974 invasion ‘celebrations’ in the north.

    President Clerides has set aside the month of July for the third round of talks in Geneva, as requested by the UN.

    But Denktash said on Saturday he would have to cut the talks short and return to the island from July 14 to 22 to mark the July 20 anniversary.

    UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has said he wants the pace of the indirect talks to be accelerated, and hopes to move on to issues of substance.

    Denktash had earlier been asked by the UN to make himself available for the entire month of July. He said at the time that it was "possible", but later informed the UN that he could not because of the anniversary celebrations.

    "I don't expect anything to come out of the third round of talks," Denktash told the Turkish Cypriot news agency TAK. "Though some people are expecting some things," he added.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday the government had not received anything official from the UN on Denktash's about-face, only that as far as the government was concerned, Denktash had agreed to the July schedule.

    "These comments say something else," Papapetrou told his daily briefing. "He is trying to demote and ridicule the whole process further".

    The government spokesman declined to comment on statements attributed to Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides in yesterday's papers.

    Cassoulides was quoted as warning the international community that if they wanted to recognise the breakaway regime in the north they should go ahead, but face the consequences of such an unprecedented move.

    Last week, Cassoulides said that by courting the Turkish Cypriots in its efforts to make progress, the international community was running the risk of alienating the Greek Cypriot side.

    [10] Deputies to go to New York to lobby Annan on missing

    A PARLIAMENTARY delegation will travel to New York to meet UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan to discuss the missing persons issue, House President Spyros Kyprianou said yesterday.

    The government and the House are angry at a comment made by Annan in his recent report renewing Unficyp's six-monthly mandate.

    Annan said he would not appoint a third member to the tri-partite Committee for Missing Persons (CMP) until the two sides show a genuine commitment to resolving the long-standing problem.

    The government last year began an exhumation process to clear up the issue on the Greek Cypriot side, but an agreement to swap information reached between the two communities in July 1997 collapsed after the Turkish Cypriot side pulled out.

    "Annan's position is unacceptable, Kyprianou said after a meeting yesterday with members of the House Refugee Committee and representatives of relatives of the missing.

    "We cannot let the issue be forgotten," Kyprianou said. "That's why the House will assume some initiatives in co-operation with the government".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [11] Missing soldier held by Turks

    A 21-YEAR-old soldier reported missing since Sunday has been seized by Turkish troops in the north, the United Nations said yesterday.

    George Kassianides was reported missing by his father after failing to report back to his unit at Troulli, in the Larnaca district, on Sunday morning.

    It is understood that Kassianides was apprehended in the greater Troulli area, but there was no information on the circumstances of the incident.

    He was in uniform, but unarmed, reports said.

    UN Spokeswoman Sarah Russel told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that an Unficyp doctor would visit Kassianides today.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [12] New passport regime for EU and associates only

    MEASURES introduced last week to speed up immigration controls will only apply to EU and associate passport holders, and not to Cypriots.

    The new rules mean immigration officers will no longer stamp EU passports, an immigration officer told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    From June 1, immigration officers are just checking EU passports, drastically cutting down on queuing time for passengers.

    The officer said the new rule also applied to members of the European economic area, such as Switzerland and Iceland, but not to local passport holders.

    The system will be effective for a preliminary phase until October 1, the immigration officer said.

    Police Chief Andreas Angelides said last week the new regime would not cause any security problems.

    Police, he said, would discretely check passengers and intervene where deemed necessary.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail

    Tuesday, June 6, 2000

    [13] Man sent for psychiatric treatment after police station attack

    A 25-YEAR-old Limassol man has been committed to a psychiatric unit after he allegedly attacked Limassol police station with a sledgehammer in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    According to police, the man pulled up outside the main gates of the Limassol police station at around 2.30am on Sunday. He then began to smash the sentry post at the gate with a sledgehammer. Police officers intervened to prevent the man from entering the police station building. The suspect then allegedly attacked the officers, causing them actual bodily harm.

    The Limassol District Court ordered that the 25-year-old be committed to the care of the Limassol hospital psychiatric ward later that same day.

    Sunday was not the first time the suspect, who is known to have a history of mental problems, had attacked the Limassol police station. Last year, he was caught trying to hurl Molotov cocktails at the station.

    The man reportedly blames abuse by police officers for his mental problems.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail


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