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Businessman's inability to pay back excessive interest on loan led to bomb blast, court told.

By George Psyllides

A 55-YEAR-OLD Larnaca man was remanded in custody for four days on Monday in connection with a bomb blast outside the home of a woman in Oroklini, as well as usury, and extortion.

The man, a nightclub owner from Oroklini, was arrested following the explosion of a bomb on the veranda of a house early on Sunday. No one was injured but damage was caused to the house.

The house belongs to the daughter of a businessman, who lives next door, and was apparently the intended target.

The businessman told police that he had borrowed money from the suspect in the summer of 2014 due to financial problems.

He said he borrowed e1/460,000 and agreed to pay back the money within two months, paying an additional e1/430,000 as interest.

The businessman claimed that by the summer of 2015, he had paid back e1/438,480 and the suspect constantly threatened that he would harm him unless he paid back the rest.

The two met last August at the suspect's office to talk about the amount due. During the meeting, the businessman alleged that he was beaten and sent to hospital for stitches to the face.

On the same day, the suspect told the businessman that the deal was no longer on, and that the e1/438,480 he had already paid only covered the interest.

Since then, and until early this month, the suspect allegedly called and threatened the businessman's life.

Fearing for his life and the safety of his family, the businessman paid the suspect e1/42,800 and signed two undated cheques for e1/410,000 and e1/44,000, asking him not to cash them until he was told.

But the threats continued, according to the businessman, who said he had no differences with anyone else.

Police have secured security camera footage showing a large motorcycle with two passengers approaching the scene just before the explosion and then speeding off.

The suspect has denied any involvement with the blast though he admitted to loaning money to the businessman and beating him up.

He claimed that initially he had given the businessman e1/450,000, which he had paid back in two weeks.

The suspect also claimed that he gave the businessman e1/470,000 to invest in cigarettes. He alleged that he expected to be paid back e1/4200,000, something that never happened.

The 55-year-old said he told the businessman to return the initial amount he had invested but he asked for more time. In return, he would have paid the suspect an additional e1/430,000, police heard.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Jan 25, 2016
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