Criminal case against the Mayor of Ayia Napa – An indictment was served

Faced with criminal offenses in relation to securing a European sponsorship of €765.000 for a hotel upgrade, Christos Zanettou - How his lawyers respond

photo 10 exclusive, Municipality of Ayia Napa, Christos Zannetou

The mayor of Ayia Napa, Christos Zannetos, who is also a candidate for the June 765.000 elections for the Municipality of Ayia Napa, appears to be accused of criminal offenses in relation to the alleged irregular securing of €9 in European sponsorship for the upgrade of a hotel unit.

According to what has come to light, this is a case concerning the alleged falsification or falsification of financial statements of the hotel's owning company. The case appears to have been registered last month at the District Court of Famagusta for the purpose of referring Mr. Zannetos to a direct trial before the Permanent Criminal Court. The issue was brought to light by the Cyprus Times website on Monday, May 13, 2024.

According to what was also mentioned by "Fileleftheros" newspaper in a report on May 13, 2024, "the issue was also highlighted in a special report of the Audit Service for the CTO, the findings of which were made public in July 2019. The EY microscope was put under the microscope of a sponsorship given for the upgrade and modernization of a hotel in Ayia Napa, the shareholder and director of which was the controversial time Christos Zannetou. The €765.000 grant was given as part of the Incentive Plan for investments in sustainable enrichment and upgrading of the tourist product which was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and was based on the submitted financial statements of the company for 2007."

As the newspaper report states, "in its conclusions, the Audit Service had stated that "amounts included in the balance sheet of the financial statements of the year 2007 and related to borrowing, which was an important parameter for the evaluation of the application, are presented with smaller amounts, a fact that shows that the submitted, as selected, financial statements of 2007 were falsified". The Audit Service, detecting the possible commission of criminal offenses, had then requested that the matter be referred to the Attorney General."

The "Fileleftheros" newspaper also cites information from the Police, according to which, in 2019, the TAE of Famagusta began to investigate the issue with the case file being forwarded to the Legal Service, which requested additional examinations.

Indictment filed a day after case went public – What lawyers say

Today, May 14, 2024, the indictment was served on Christos Zannetou for the case in which he is allegedly accused and which saw the light of day yesterday. In their announcement, the lawyers of the Mayor of Ayia Napa state:

"Today, an indictment was served on our client for events that allegedly took place at least fifteen years ago and were investigated by the police authorities around 2019, when our client was also placed on the facts before the investigative authorities. It is deeply troubling that a case, the trial of which could have been concluded by now, was registered 5 years later and in the pre-election period and has been leaked to the press before it was served. We note that the intention of Mr. Christos Zannettos is the immediate adjudication of the case, so that his innocence will immediately become clear. We remind you that, based on the existing legislation and the Constitution, any person who is suspected or accused is presumed innocent, until the completion of the judicial process. And any public statements must respect the presumption of innocence and not constitute influencing and falsifying the popular will."

AKEL/DIKO: They see serious moral and political issues from the criminal prosecution of Zannetos - They indirectly call on him to resign

AKEL and DIKO see serious moral and political issues behind the criminal prosecution of the candidate and of the mayor of Ayia Napa, Christos Zannetos, who is facing offenses in relation to securing a €765.000 European grant for a hotel upgrade.

The announcement of AKEL as it is

"The Local Government and in particular the free area of ​​Famagusta does not need and cannot bear such adventures as the case of Christos Zannetou will drag it into.

Mr. Christos Zannetos, Mayor of Ayia Napa and DISY's candidate for the new Municipality, is referred to a trial before the Criminal Court of Famagusta for a case of forgery and extracting money with false representations, in relation to European funds. This is a case that concerns Mr. Zanneto personally, it is extremely serious - hence it is referred directly to the Criminal Court - and it arose after a report by the Audit Service and long police investigations.

It is a given that no one is declared guilty until a Court decision. However, serious ethical, political and institutional issues arise from now on. There are also questions about the operation of the Municipality throughout the trial, since as a litigant it will not be able to perform its duties.

The Local Government and in particular the free area of ​​Famagusta does not need and cannot bear such adventures as the case of Christou Zannetou will drag it into."

The announcement of DIKO as it is

"It is with particular concern that we follow the developments concerning the Municipality of Ayia Napa and the criminal case against the current mayor of Ayia Napa for forgery or falsification of the audited accounts of his company, with the aim of embezzling €765.000.

The presumption of innocence certainly applies in this criminal case as in any criminal case. In no case do we wish to prejudge the decisions of justice.

At the same time, however, serious political and moral issues arise from the fact that a Mayor, who is a candidate for re-election in an economically vital Municipality, is referred to the Criminal Court for a very serious criminal case involving the embezzlement of money.

In addition to the political and ethical dimension of this case, a series of serious operational problems arise for the Municipality of Ayia Napa.

We must express our concern, because:

    1. As a matter of fact, the Municipality of Ayia Napa should enter into a process of thorough financial audit in the context of the criminal investigation of this case.
    2. This will be done in a critical period for the Municipality, where the Municipality will claim funding and funds, in a very competitive environment, within the framework of the new structures of the local government reform.
    3. While this case is being tried and in the event that the current Mayor of Ayia Napa is re-elected, the Mayor will have to be put on holiday, so there is a risk that the Municipality of Ayia Napa will remain headless at a critical time when the new structures of the new Municipality.
    4. In the event that the current Mayor is convicted after being re-elected, he should be suspended and the Municipality should be led to elections again.

It is therefore clear that in view of these developments, the Municipality of Ayia Napa is being led into adventures.

The Mayor of Ayia Napa must give the citizens convincing answers to all these questions and not refer them to his lawyers.

He may have to consider the possibility of making decisions about his candidacy, for the good of the Municipality."