What is blackmail and why is it not a criminal offence in Cyprus?

It is important that we all bear in mind just what ‘blackmail’ is.

Every time a builder decides he wants extra money over and above the Contract price to finish a build. Every time a builder/landowner asks you to pay his taxes or he won’t sign the transfer. Every time a builder says you have to pay for a transformer to get normal tariff electricity. Every time the builder demands extra to connect the water. Every time the builder and the Bank demand you pay off an illegal mortgage. Every time you are held to ransom by the builder because he has no building permission, no ownership of the land he is building on, no intentions of finishing your build to a good standard or indeed finishing it at all. In some instances he has not even started but has sent you fraudulent pictures showing you he has, to make you part with stage payments. Your Advocate cannot be blameless in these instances, because in many cases they tell you it is the only way, some might even think them complicit in these scams.

Every time you succumb to any of above, and indeed any I may have missed, you have become a victim of blackmail. Demanding money with menaces = pay up or else? This is a crime, even here, so why no prosecutions?

There are of course many, many satisfied purchasers in the TRNC. They bought their homes before the boom, received their permission to purchase within a reasonable time frame, had title transferred without incident and are happy with their lot. I would say at least 99% of them are truly sorry for what is happening to the property victims and would help them in whatever way they can.

There is however that 1% who truly resent us for speaking out, who think that we should pay the extra demanded or shut up. I have even seen comments such as, ‘if you don’t like it then you can always go back to where you came from’. How, and with what? I am sure by now many of the Kulaksiz 5 would do just that. One small problem is that every penny they had has been invested in their ‘dream home’. The first few years when they were happily unaware of the mortgage they spent money landscaping their gardens and doing the things inside their villas which transforms a building into a home. Many thousands of pounds have been spent on these improvements, money spent over and above the initial purchase price of their homes. Continued legal battles have eaten into any ‘rainy day’ money they might have had. So no, even if they do not like it, they have nowhere to go and no money to go with.

The ‘I’m alright Jack/Jill brigade’ are the worst. They have absolutely no compassion for the victims whose lives have been turned upside down. I had a very interesting conversation with a lady recently. She said ‘you know Pauline, not everyone wants to get involved, they have a nice life here, no problems and really they do not want anything unpleasant in their lives’. ‘I feel that way myself’ she said. Thank God not everyone thinks that way.

I had hoped to retire to a nice quiet life in the sun but, like it or not, some very unpleasant things have entered my life. I recognise it has happened to thousands more here in the North and to tens of thousands in the South. Sorry Jack and Jill, I am not going to stop making you feel uncomfortable until each and every property scam victim receives Justice. I may not live to see all receive Justice, but I plan to try.

Never give up, never give in.

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