Paphos mayor digs deep into Aristo case
Paphos Mayor Savvas Vergas said that the municipality is continuing its probe into Aristo Developers and that it should have a list of all related companies some time on Wednesday.
Vergas said that he has received full disclosure from the Registrar of Companies and that the municipality’s own audit service is investigating all possible property deals related to the developer.
He added that this process involves “a number of companies” with 179 case files already handed to the police.
In the meantime, former Bank of Cyprus chairman Theodoros Aristodemou and his architect wife have appealed the eight-day remand orders issued by the Paphos District Court, with the company’s chairman hospitalised in Nicosia and Sotiroula Aristodemou already cooperating with the police by giving statements.
Two senior officials from Paphos town hall were also arrested late on Thursday night and are facing similar charges of zoning violations, alleged property fraud and forgery in deals in the area of Skali – a retired municipal engineer and the supervisor of the municipal land surveys department.
A fifth person was arrested on Tuesday, a 36-year-old Aristo employee working in the company’s planning division, who is alleged to have forged documents related to the specific development.
The investigation has revealed an extensive case of alleged land grab and changes in local surveys, such as appropriation of stretches designated for roads and green areas, for a total value approaching 5-6,000 sq.m.
In the meantime, Aristo issued a statement saying its founders were willing to cooperate with investigators and that this was all part of a fabrication and that the truth will prevail.
The Attorney General’s office has reportedly collected all Aristo property files involving stretches adjacent to Paphos municipal boundaries dating back to the year 2000.
This includes the King’s Mall, the new multi-million Aristo development in Kato Paphos, where there are allegations that areas designated for green were changed to parking spaces.
Back in July, Paphos Mayor Savvas Vergas had tabled Aristo Developer’s file before the municipal council, proposing the approval of zoning and building permits for a total of 177 plots for which the developer had secured a demarcation permit.
The case was first brought to the attention of the police by a Paphos municipality officer. Vergas added on Tuesday that the allegations were submitted by “a citizen”.
It subsequently emerged that the plans for which the demarcation permits were issued were switched with new plans, which seemed to cede approximately 4,000 sq.m. previously designated as green space, back to Aristo, the newspaper reported.
Aristodemou had denied any wrongdoing, arguing that municipal employees, unfamiliar with regulations, had got their calculations wrong.
According to Aristodemou, the real gap between the municipality’s and his company’s calculations does not exceed 900 sq.m., and his company could not benefit from it under any circumstances since the Land Registry routinely spots such mistakes and amends developments accordingly prior to issuing title deeds.