Cycladic ‘ring’ exposed

Charges have been issued against six public officials in connection with the construction of dozens of illegal homes on a number of Cycladic islands, including Myconos, Sunday’s Kathi-merini has learned. First instance prosecutor Efi Salma, based on Syros, has charged the former head of the local town-planning office, Dimitris Boudouris, his former deputy, Kyriakos Diktiopoulos, the former chief of police on Myconos, Costas Anthoulis, his former deputy, Costas Schismenos, as well as the current Cyclades Prefect Dimitris Bailas and Deputy Prefect Nikitas Gryparis, who is responsible for town-planning and environmental issues. According to the charges, Boudouris and Diktiopoulos did not arrange for a list of illegal properties on Syros, Myconos and Kythnos to be drawn up between 2005 and 2009, so fines could be issued. The results of the prosecutor’s probe indicate that the fines should have totaled about 20 million euros. Boudouris and Diktiopoulos have been charged with committing felonies. Bailas and Gryparis face lesser charges as they have been accused of failing to ensure that the town-planning office was properly staffed and that an employee in charge of inspecting illegal properties was replaced when she took long maternity leave. The two policemen have been charged with breach of duty because they allegedly failed to record and act upon notifications of illegally constructed properties from the town-planning office. Normally, the police would have recorded the details and then gone to the building sites to arrest anyone present and to ensure that constructions was stopped. However, it is alleged that Anthoulis and Schismenos did not do this. The case is now being passed to an investigating magistrate who will have to enlist the help of civil engineers to check on the status of 157 properties that are suspected of having been built illegally on the three islands. The judge will have to establish how big a fine each property owner should have paid and work out to what extent they were involved in the illegal scheme to avoid penalties. It has been alleged by one homeowner that an officer asked for between 15,000 and 20,000 euros in order not to tell the town-planning office that his property had been built without the proper permission.