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Eight more detained in Ayia Fyla Co-op swindle

A total of eight suspects have been remanded in police custody in the third criminal case to have emerged from the Ayia Fyla Co-op Bank swindle.

On Saturday, the Limassol District Court remanded eight individuals following a request from Limassol CID investigators.

The suspects are a 60-year-old businessman, five members of the former board of trustees of Co-op, a former secretary and a loans manager. Two of the suspects are currently facing trial in two other separate cases to have emerged from the alleged epic swindle at the Ayia Fyla Co-op.

All the suspects have been remanded in police custody for eight days.

The new investigation concerns a total of nine loans that were made to the account of the 60-year-old businessman between 2003 and 2006 and which had been approved despite no collateral being put down.

The total amount of the loan that was paid out was €4.6million with that current amount – taking into consideration the interest and delayed repayments – has ballooned up to €8.9m.

The police investigator in the case that 11 charged are being investigated against the eight suspects and which concern offences relating to conspiracy to commit a crime, obtaining rewards under false pretenses, grand theft, theft, maintaining false accounts, forgery, circulating forged documents, bribery and corruption.

Five of the nine loans had involved various individuals putting themselves down as principal debtors for loans without even knowing about it.

Principal debtors are persons who sign contractual relationship whereby one party – the surety – agrees to pay the principal’s debt or perform his or her obligation in case of the principal’s default. The principal is the debtor – the person who is obligated to a creditor.

In one case, the court heard on Saturday, one man who owed money to the 60-year-old agreed to put himself down as a principal debtor in exchange for his debt being wiped clean while another man told police that he had discovered that he was a principal debtor for two loans despite being assured that he would only sign as a guarantor.

Police have so far uncovered bank documents with regards to loans that have been handed out without any evaluations of collateral being made while some of the evaluations that have been found are reportedly doctored.

Investigators have so far taken down 46 statements while another 38 statements are expected to be taken.

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