Police deny culpability for suicide

Cyprus’s police chief yesterday rejected claims that police insensitivity may have led to Sunday’s suicide of a Church of Cyprus accountant arrested three weeks ago in connection with a multimillion-euro financial scandal. Ilias Dimitriou, 54, was found shot dead on a building site near his Nicosia house. A suicide verdict was issued. Police Chief Tassos Panayiotou dismissed claims by Dimitriou’s family that the dead man, who allegedly suffered from depression and had suicidal tendencies, had not been allowed proper treatment during his 17-day detention, which ended last Thursday. He said Dimitriou had been taken to hospital and given tranquilizers. Dimitriou had been arrested on December 1, together with the Church’s chief accountant, Chrysostomos Philippos, 43, and Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos’s nephew and driver Iosif Aristodimos, 60, and charged with fraud and forgery for allegedly mismanaging some 23 million pounds (40 million euros) of Church assets. Chrysostomos has been unable to carry out his duties since falling and hitting his head in May 2002.