A local councilor in rural Larnaca has been remanded in custody on suspicion of swindling a produce company in his community out of half a million, following an audit that revealed blank cheques were misused.
Local media said a 31-year-old male, who was arrested on Sunday on fraud charges, was remanded in custody on Monday for seven days after a share holder of Vasiliki Gi, a produce distributor company based in Odou village, filed a complaint with police over the weekend.
The suspect had blank cheques already signed by company officers, with the amount and beneficiary fields left empty so that he could carry out payments to various payees
According to the complaint, the suspect had blank cheques signed by the president and the head accountant of the company, with the amount and beneficiary fields left empty so that he could carry out payments to various payees.
But a recent audit covering a period from 2020 until this month showed that the suspect’s name was written as payee on the cheques, with a total of €498,000 being paid to him.
Vasiliki Gi, initially a public company later turned into a private operation in 2006 with dozens of share holders, is headquartered in Odou, where four Egyptian workers were burned alive in a wildfire in July 2021.
The four workers died trying to escape the village of Odos, where they worked on a tomato plantation, with conflicting reports suggesting they had been told to drive towards the fire amid chaos in an effort to help contain it.
A 67-year-old farmer who was burning grass in his field in nearby Arakapas has been arrested in connection with the deadly fire. The suspect has denied the charges.