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POLICE yesterday requested the detention of a high-profile businessman and his associate on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, and theft of €6.0 million linked with a property deal in Romania.
Lambros Christofi and his associate Giorgos Constantinou were arrested on Thursday.
Yesterday’s remand hearing dragged on for around six hours, as the suspects’ lawyers grilled the police investigator who told the court that the suspects stole €6.0 million using their position as executive directors of a company, Advantage Capital holdings Plc.
The court said it will issue its decision today.
Deputy Sergeant Athina Pambori said the suspects had allegedly forged a document to make it look they had lawfully collected the money for a property transaction with Larnaca businessman Lefteris Milos.
Milos told police that in December 2009, he had signed an agreement to sell to a subsidiary of Advantage Capital, land worth €25 million, the court heard.
Milos was convinced to get another subsidiary company of the suspects – Fesforo - transferred to his name, so that he could use the company to sell the land.
Milos said that later that month he travelled to Greece to deliver the title deeds and collect his cheques but he was told that the person who had the cheques was absent.
The businessman became suspicious and through his investigations discovered that there was an additional clause in the document he signed on December that had been added without him knowing.
The clause referred to another sales document which the complainant was not aware of, the court heard.
The sales document, dated June 1, 2009, said that the Greek subsidiary had already agreed to buy the land and pay a €6.0 million deposit.
The Greek subsidiary had already paid Advantage the €6.0 million deposit on two separate instances on May and June 2009, the court heard.
“According to the complainant, there was never such an agreement or final decision and the clause referring to June 1, 2009 was deceitfully placed there to avoid paying the €6 million,” the police investigator said.
“Instead of giving that sum to the complainant, the suspects issued instructions to protect the money with some of it winding up in personal accounts, or their own person in the form of cash and cheques and parts of it used to pay off Advantages’ loans and buy shares,” Pampori told the court.
The investigator told the court that Christofi had transferred over €1.1 million to his own companies and personally got €735,000.
Costantinou got about €36,000 in cash and cheques.
The rest of the sum was used by Advantage to pay up loans, meet expenses and for shares, the court heard.
Published on November 26, 2011