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Russian woman > ‘I didn’t know it was Greek Cypriot property’ December 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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A Russian woman buying a property in the occupied North did not know it was actually owned by Greek Cypriots, a Nicosia court heard yesterday.

The trial of Elena Mirkushova, 30, accused of illegally purchasing a house built on land belonging to Greek Cypriot refugees, yesterday began with the investigator of the case taking the stand.

Yesterday’s proceedings were followed by Theodora Antonis Polycarpou, Marios Antonis Polycarpou and Andreas Antonis Polycarpou, the Greek Cypriot owners of the land sold to the woman by Turkish Cypriot estate agents.

Mirkushova was arrested at the Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia on November 18, along with a Latvian friend of hers, after customs officers discovered a contract of purchase for a property in occupied Lapithos, as well as advertising pamphlets for properties in the occupied areas, in her bag.

Addressing the court, CID Constable Costas Costa said he had taken a statement from Mirkushova who confessed to buying the property in the north.

“However, when asked if she knew that the property originally belonged to Greek Cypriots, she said she was conned by the Turkish Cypriot estate agents because they never told her who were the original owners of the land she was buying.”

The investigator told the court that Mirkushova had signed the contract of purchase and had paid £1,000 sterling as a down payment for the house, which was being sold for £78,000 sterling. According to the contract, Mirkushova would then have to pay £14,600 sterling a few months later and then pay off the rest of the amount in £2,500 sterling monthly installments.

“The defendant told us that she had not yet actually decided to buy the property but had wanted to go back to Russia so that her lawyers could go over it for her,” said Costa.
The court heard how Mirkushova had wanted to buy the house in the north “because she thought it would have been a good investment for her daughter.”

Evidence was also submitted to the court by the investigator, who handed to Judge Lemonia Kaoutzani various police statements, the contract of purchase and the advertising pamphlets for the properties in the north.

The Russian mother was remanded in custody on November 18 before being charged with two counts of illegally purchasing a property in the occupied areas and conspiracy to commit a crime. She denies both charges.

Yesterday, the prosecution also dropped the arrest warrant against 42-year-old Bulet Fikri, the estate agent who sold her the house, because “he is in the occupied area and it is not possible to arrest him.”

According to the first charge of the indictment, Mirkushova and Fikri conspired to commit a crime. The second charge stated that on November 18, Mirkushova purchased from Fikri a property that belonged to somebody else, which was being built in the occupied Ayios Theodoros area of Lapithos.

The property sold is built on two plots, one which belongs to Panayiota Grigoris Polydorou and one which is shared between the three members of the Polycarpou family. The charge said the accused had signed a document of purchase, dated November 18, 2006, but should have known that there was no consent from the rightful owners.

The trial continues of December 19, with the Polycarpou family as well as an official of the Land Registry Department to be called up as witnesses.