Two suspects in a high-profile football corruption case in Cyprus will face a criminal trial next month, while a judge has ordered for them to be released on bail pending trial.
The two suspects, 39-year-old Ayia Napa FC chairman Dimitris Masias, a former football referee, and a 33-year-old current referee Andreas Constantinou, were arrested last week after police said witnesses had come forward with match fixing allegations after a recent game.
During a court hearing on Thursday, the two men were ordered to stand trial on March 17, while police prosecutors were seeking their further remand until trial.
Defence attorney Chris Triantafyllides told reporters that Masias had faith in the justice system and reminded the public that defendants were innocent until proven otherwise
But their defence attorneys argued that their clients should not remain in custody, saying there was no flight risk or concerns over witness tampering.
The judge, who sided with the defence, set a bail bond for the duo at €75,000, overturning an earlier amount of 50,000 in cash after a request was made by the attorneys.
After the hearing, defence attorney Chris Triantafyllides, who represented Masias, told reporters that his client had faith in the justice system and reminded the public that defendants were innocent until proven otherwise.
Constantinou’s defence attorney, Andros Pelekanos, had previously told the judge that his client was married with two young children, requesting that the referee surrender his travel documents and report to police while awaiting trial.
Police say they have evidence, including witnesses and phone data, proving that the suspects plotted together to rig a recent match.
Complains were launched immediately after the game while it later emerged that Cypriot authorities had been on the receiving end of information about football corruption in the past.