NEWS

Car scandal claims police chief

NICOSIA (AP) – The Cypriot chief of police yesterday became the second high-profile official to resign amid a burgeoning scandal involving senior policemen who allegedly cheated customs of taxes on imported luxury limousines. «I am extremely happy and my conscience is crystal clear,» Andreas Angelides said after submitting his resignation to President Glafcos Clerides. Angelides is being investigated on whether a Range Rover and Mercedes he bought had the full duty paid on them. His son is under investigation for similar reasons. On Tuesday, Justice and Public Order Minister Nicos Koshis resigned without stating the reasons for his decision. However, the reasons are widely believed to be linked to the auto fraud probe thought to involve public officials who swindled the state out of millions of dollars. Angelides, a former state prosecutor, was appointed in July 1998 and was the first police chief not to be selected from the force itself. Local media reported that Koshis and the police chief had clashed over the handling of the auto fraud probe, which is reviewing the files of hundreds of imported cars. «Everybody knows there was conflict between them which the president had failed to resolve,» government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said. Cypriot police chief inspector Yiannakis Panayiotou was detained last week on suspicion of importing cars without paying the full customs duties. Investigators believe at least two-thirds of the cars under investigation were originally imported as spare parts. These were most probably parts of stolen vehicles, mainly from Britain, which then were reassembled on the island with false chassis numbers.