Panteli remains in custody
NICOSIA (AFP) – Andreas Panteli, the ex-president of Cypriot soccer club Anorthosis, was retained in police custody yesterday to help a police probe of embezzlement charges. Panteli appeared before a Nicosia district court where a judge granted a police request that he remain in detention for a further three days on the grounds there was «reasonable suspicion» that a crime had been committed. Less than 24 hours earlier, the Anorthosis president had resigned from his post and pledged to return any amount of money found to be owed to Anorthosis Famagusta following an independent audit. Although the Anorthosis board has withdrawn its complaints against the 48-year-old Panteli – citing reasons of public interest – the police investigation continues. The court also heard that the embezzlement probe will extend overseas, as officers track the money trail as well as suspect transfer dealings. Panteli was arrested last Friday, two days after Anorthosis drew 2-2 with Werder Bremen in the Champions League, by police looking into financial mismanagement involving 1 million euros. Police are investigating a case of forgery, distribution of forged documents, theft, obtaining money under false pretences and trying to cover it up. The high-profile figure was accused by fellow executive board members of obtaining 418,498 euros under false pretences and of trying to take another 500,000 euros in club assets. Next Tuesday, Anorthosis visits Panathinaikos and will need a win to advance to the Champions League knockout stage.