Cypriot minister resigns over cars

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s justice minister resigned yesterday amid a spiraling scandal over alleged police involvement in a tax scam for importing luxury cars. Police have come under scrutiny in the past week over their alleged role in a racket importing luxury cars as scrap metal or in parts to be assembled on the island, depriving state coffers of thousands of dollars in import duties. One senior officer and two car dealers have been detained pending further inquiries in a case that has hit public confidence in the police. «My decision (to resign) is final and irrevocable,» Justice Minister Nicos Koshis said. As justice minister, Koshis was responsible for the police force and prisons. Cyprus radio relayed unconfirmed reports that Police Chief Andreas Angelidesis – under investigation for two luxury cars he bought – was also planning to resign today. Hundreds of luxury cars are being scrutinized by authorities to ascertain the scope of the fraud. The Cabinet yesterday ordered an independent inquiry.

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