Eleven suspects involved in a €5 million scandal at the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK) were remanded in custody for eight days by the Limassol District Court on Friday.
Police believe that the suspects are involved in the misappropriation of money in connection with a series of €5 million EU-funded research programmes that took place between the years 2008-2015 and include a current professor at the university, a former university research official and close friends and family members of theirs.
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The 11 are facing 15 charges including; conspiracy to commit a felony, a misdemeanour, bribery, deception and abuse of trust by a public official, fraudulent acquisition of property, extortion, absuse of authority, forgery, false claims by public officials and offenses in violation of the Money Laundering Act.
Some of the defendants have denied any involvement in the case.
Police investigations which lasted some six months point to the former TEPAK research official, 57-year-old Rozita Pavlidou who was involved in 20 of the 23 research programmes from 2008-2015.
At the same time, investigators found that teachers of the scientific staff were forced to recruit the official’s relatives in the research, while the interviewees were afraid of their testimonies being leaked.
The court heard how the former TEPAK official allegedly compiled false documents and invoices and received payments for work and studies carried out in the context of the implementation of the various research programs.
These works were in fact never done while imposing the employment of relatives who were paid without doing any work in the research programs.
Police also presented evidence against the Pavlidou for making threats against a witness, a teacher at TEPAK, who she blamed for leaking details about her to the media in 2015.
Pavlidou claimed to know people in the underworld, indicating to the witness that “a phone call is needed to get a small bomb planted.”
Apart from Pavlidou, the following have also been remanded: TEPAK Chemistry professor Costas Costa (41), Pavlidou’s 38-year and 32-year-old sons Juan Iacovos Carera Pavlides and Pavlos Orestis Carera Pavlides, Pavlidou’s sister Ekavi Pavlidou (50), 29-year-old Andriana Themistokleous (wife of Pavlos Orestis Carera Pavlides), 39-year-old Maria Nicolaou (wife of Juan Iacovos Carera Pavlides), 26-year-old Michaella Nicolaou (sister of Maria Nicolaou), 41-year-old Kyriacos Prokopi and his wife Maria Cleanthous (‘Koumbari’ with Costas Costa) and Maria Nicolaou’s 38-year-old brother Demetris.