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Friday, February 20, 2009

Legal problems with Northern Cyprus property

(Times Online) - Following a ruling by the European court, British owners face huge damages

Kasia Maciejowska

Britons who bought holiday homes in Northern Cyprus may be forced to pay thousands of pounds in damages to the original Greek Cypriot owners of the land, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The judgment, expected later this year, will conclude a case that began in 2005, when a Cypriot court ordered a British couple, Linda and David Orams, to demolish their villa to pay compensation to Meledis Apostolides — the Greek Cypriot legal owner of the land. Like many other Britons, the Orams bought the land from Turkish Cypriots who took ownership illegally following the Turkish invasion of 1974, when an estimated 170,000 Greek Cypriots fled their homes. The case was referred to the EU court after the Orams opposed the ruling. The Advocate General, whose opinion is usually followed, has backed the Greek Cypriots. If this opinion is upheld, damages to the dispossessed population could be enforced against any assets owned elsewhere in the EU by non-Greek property owners.

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