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North Cyprus Property Victims | the government should “recognise that fraud is a criminal offence”

So the Bank of Cyprus is selling off its Australian branch.  Sounds like a very prudent move until you read on and find out that it only put a further 8 million Euro into the pot.  Not much when you are talking about banks.
Fitch is another credit agency looking closely at the RoC with a view to further reducing their BBB (slightly above junk status) rating. Having seen that Alpha Bank are looking to sell homes mortgaged to them by unscrupulous builders, one has to wonder if, and to what extent, the Bank of Cyprus have exposed themselves to such risks. It would be interesting to obtain such information.
On this side of the border, the Government are now proposing a new law to reduce the interest rates applied by Banks and to cap the amount of return a Bank can expect on its lending.  This sounds all well and good if a) it makes it on to the Statute Book and  b) it is not a ploy to make it affordable for the victim to pay the villain’s debt. Whatever the motive, this still leaves many property scams unaddressed.
We have the memorandum situation where creditors of the builder/landowner have been allowed to apply memorandums on properties that their debtor has already sold, but because of the time it takes to obtain Permission to Purchase or, in the case of Turkish Cypriots, the ineptitude of some Advocates and Estate Agents, the property (although sold) still appeared in the name of the builder/landowner and was therefore thought to be ‘fair game’.  The creditors, with the co-operation of the legal system, were allowed to be place memorandums on property that contractually no longer belonged to the debtor.
There is also a situation where villas are still awaiting mains water and electricity, two basic necessities in life, or where the water and electricity is still at Builder’s tariff because of the builder’s inability to complete the projects.  It seems common practice in the TRNC to further penalise victims for the fault of the villains. This situation could so easily be resolved by the Government making it illegal for domestic customers to be charged different rates and for it to be obligatory for all domestic dwellings to be on the national grid for electricity and the Belediyesi supply for water.
To recognise that fraud is a criminal offence would be a huge step forward and might make those demanding money over and above the Contract price think twice before demanding ‘money with menace’.  We all know of the ‘you pay my stopaj or I won’t transfer title’ threat and the ‘you pay all my expenses or I won’t transfer title’ or the more straightforward  ‘you must pay more, or I will not finish your villa’. How can you describe these and many more such threats, other than ‘demanding money with menace’.  It is clearly a threat, ‘PAY UP OR ELSE’. Why do they do it? They do it because the government supports this blackmail by allowing it to happen unchecked by laws they could, but seem to be unwilling to, pass or enforce.
The funniest by a country mile has to be the one I heard come out of Tutuska’s mouth. When he was negotiating how much should be put on the worthless memorandums, he actually stated that he would ‘allow’ the money they paid to appear and he would not charge them rent for the time they had been living there. Of course, my immediate and sarcastic response was, how kind, then they won’t charge you interest on their  money you have had the use of.  Of course, his whole attitude is a nonsense, but the fact is he really believed that having defrauded the purchasers, he was in a position to dictate the terms of the memorandums.  Nurrettin Tutuska has allegedly been on the rotating door system, in and out of prison for writing ‘rubber cheques’, and still he believes he is in a position to dictate terms.
The sooner the TRNC makes fraud the criminal act it is.  The sooner they make an example of the worst perpetrators, the sooner justice will be done and more importantly, in the eyes of the World, be seen to be done.
There are so many more property scams happening, too many to mention here, but they must all be addressed and the loopholes that allowed them to happen closed without delay. I have lived here now for almost six years. I love the TRNC, I just want to see the country, strong, healthy and vibrant. Let us all join together to achieve this.
Never give in, never give up.
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