U.S. Lawyer Goes After Turkey for Selling Greek Cypriot Homes

LONDON – U.S. Attorney Athan T. Tsimpedes has charged that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is unlawfully operating in the United States as a commercial enterprise – and is involved in a fraudulent property scheme selling properties owned by Greek Cypriots that were seized during the Turkish invasion of 1974 to British citizens. At a seminar, Tsimpedes explained the basis of his current case against those assisting or participating in the TRNC on behalf of Cypriots and other nationals including US citizens who own properties in Cyprus, in the areas currently under the control of the illegal regime. “The Cyprus issue is not well publicized or understood in America,’ said Tsimpedes. “But this is Turkey’s Gaza. The world needs to know.”

Tsimpedes outlined that the unrecognized regime is subject to U.S. law because it operating as a commercial enterprise that has U.S. offices and employees, HSBC bank accounts and is selling stolen properties through its trade name the TRNC. The illegal transactions for properties in the occupied territories are made through the global bank, HSBC and its subsidiaries. “Because HSBC is involved in the fraudulent property scheme, the TRNC’s assets can be seized,” said Tsimpedes. The case is of interest to British citizens and other nationals who own or have property rights in the area controlled by the illegal TRNC regime in Cyprus since Turkey’s invasion 36 years ago. Theo Theodorou, Coordinator of Lobby for Cyprus, stated that Tsimpedes had given all the displaced British property owners in occupied Cyprus a route to protect and defend their property rights by pursuing those benefiting from the illegal trading of those properties. He also stated that this action would highlight the discriminatory basis of the current Turkish proposals for resolving the property issue in Cyprus, which contravened European Union law. He commended Tsimpedes for his passionate defense of the displaced property owners. It did not go unnoticed that the representatives of the illegal regime were acting clandestinely and in concert as a commercial enterprise in the U.S. under the radar of U.S. laws, he said.

Tsimpedes concluded by explaining that his lawsuit was open to all displaced property owners who could join at minimal risk because their only risk was to pay the nominal administrative fee to enter the class action. The lawsuit does not exchange title for compensation. Tsimpedes said his lawsuit retains title to the property owners but seeks compensation for the interference of the rights to property for 36 years, along with exemplary damages to punish the illegal acts. The Lobby urged all displaced property owners to join Tsimpedes action without delay. All is required is a statement that you own property in the occupied areas of Cyprus with some minimum details. The seminar was organized by British Human Rights NGO Lobby for Cyprus.

Dr. Klearchos Kyriakides, Senior Law lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, gave some concluding remarks including how U.S. case law compliments and supports the findings in the recent ECJ and English decisions in Apostolides v. Orams which re-enforced the property rights of the displaced owners. Costas Frangeskides, partner of Holman Fenwick Willan, specialists in international litigation reminded of the rule of law and how Turkey and its illegal regime can never take these property rights away from their rightful owners. Tsimpedes said a thief never obtains title to stolen property.

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