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Cops ready for chopper probe

Police investigators are gearing up to launch a criminal investigation into the suspect purchase of five helicopters by the Cypriot government back in 2008.

Speaking to state radio, Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides confirmed that his office was still looking into matter in which it is being alleged that bribes may have been given to government officials in the build-up to the tender in which the five helicopters were eventually purchased from an Italian company.
The company in question is currently embroiled in a string of corruption cases around the world during which they are being accused of bribing government officials even though they have so far denied any wrongdoing.
There have also been allegations made with regards to covering up the criminal probes against the Italian company after they only came to light when a whistle-blower made the discovery by simply searching the internet.

Speaking to Phileleftheros, Attorney General Costas Clerides said that “should any evidence come before me with regards to these allegations of bribery, then action will be taken”.

The same reports on Wednesday stated that Michaelides is preparing to hand over eight documents and one report which points to suspect tender requirements that had been laid out by both the police and the National Guard.

Clerides is expected to meet with MPs on Wednesday where the matter will be further discussed.Speaking to state radio on Wednesday, Michaelides – has combed through the minutes of a crucial meeting at the House from 2008 when the matter was first addressed – confirmed that the investigation has two angles.

The first has to do with whether or not parliament had been misled by former Auditor General Chrystalla Georghadji – who has been accused by some MPs of watering down the seriousness of the situation and even concealing the suspicions when she first met with parliamentarians back in 2008.
Clerides is said to be spear-heading the probe into the allegations against Georghadji.
The second angle has to do with the actual case of corruption and whether or not government officials were bribed. This will be decided once Michaelides’ files are handed over to Clerides.

“Our suspicions were first raised by the strange terms of the tender which appeared to be favouring this certain company,” continued Michaelides. “The price and fees were also very costly. What is striking is the fact that they had appeared expensive when the National Guard first purchased them.”

“But then the police went and bought the same ones again at an even higher price. That is why we are also looking into the possibility that funds may have been illegally taken from the public purse.”

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