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Cyprus investigates prison director's blackmail allegations

The Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) ??" Cyprus launched an investigation on Monday into allegations by the country's prisons' director that a senior police officer had recruited an inmate to gather information or video about her private life that could be used to blackmail her.

Attorney General George Savvides appointed lawyer Achilleas Emilianides to carry out a criminal investigation into allegations made by prisons chief Anna Aristotelous and her deputy, Athena Demetriou, against the unnamed police officer. Savvides said the investigation will conclude in about a month.

Aristotelous didn't specify what the possible motives would be for the unnamed senior police officer to allegedly recruit the inmate, who is serving a long sentence on a drug conviction. She claimed the officer would communicate with the inmate inside the prison through a cellphone.

Speaking after her lawyers filed a formal complaint to Savvides, Aristotelous said the senior officer's actions aimed to "harm her and, as we believe, constitute a blatant act of corruption, especially because it's been committed by a member of the police."

It's unclear whether the officer has been suspended, but Aristotelous said he should be because of the risk that he could prejudice the investigation.

Government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said additional steps will be taken and "responsibility will be apportioned" after the investigation is completed.

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