Limassol district court will decide on Monday whether to renew the remand order of three suspects as police investigate a suspected scam to defraud social security funds earmarked for the homeless.
Their four-day remand order expired on Friday, but they are now facing additional charges – including suspected human trafficking.
Police say that the three had set up a scheme at a hotel in the coastal town to claim thousands of funds to house homeless individuals for longer than they had actually stayed.
They are the 46 year old president of an (non-registered) association which campaigns for the homeless, the 57 year old owner of the hotel and a 66 year old receptionist at the hotel.
All deny any involvement in the suspected conspiracy to commit an offence, obtaining funds under false pretences and fraud. These were committed between August 2018 and October 2019. Police said they believe over €200,000 may have been transferred this way.
In the meantime, the ‘association’ president was taken to hospital on Friday with chest pains and remains to be seen whether he will be present at the court hearing on Monday.
Police had told the court that there were at least nine cases of homeless individuals who had left the hotel but the state continued to pay for their room and board.
In one instance the welfare services were looking for a specific individual for three months who was shown to be staying at the hotel but when informed by the welfare services said he had not stayed for that long.
The case was reported to the police on August 28 after welfare service officers who asked to see the homeless individuals in their rooms were forbidden from doing so by the hotel management, the court was told.
But defence lawyers said there was no evidence of offences having been committed.