The controversial former volunteerism commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of forging his academic documents, which landed him well-paid jobs in the government.
The former commissioner appeared before the Nicosia District Court on Thursday, with the judge ordering him to surrender his travel documents, setting bail at €20,000.
The defence complained that the conditions set for bail were “excessive”.
His trial will begin on 5 October.
Yiannaki was forced to resign from his post in 2021 amid a police investigation ordered by the auditor-general after evidence emerged that he manipulated his high school diploma grades and included a fake college degree on his CV.
Apparent tampering was reported by auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides, who spotted several discrepancies in Yiannaki’s academic qualifications submitted for government posts.
According to the allegations, Yiannaki had manipulated his translated high school report card while also handing in a university degree which appears to be fake.
Photos leaked to the media show that Yiannaki had forged his high school diploma marks by changing numbers but not the words, such as turning the number 13 into 19 (out of 20) and 12 into 17.
His grade average also appeared to have been modified on the certified transcript.
He faces eight charges centred on allegations that he forged his academic documents and grossly exaggerated his qualifications, such as a letter of recommendation and a university diploma.
According to the charges, Yiannaki had prepared a forged university degree document, under the title “BS in Civil Engineering “, from San Diego State University, USA, while knowing that it did not correspond to reality.
The document in question also appears to bear the stamps of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Cyprus and the US Embassy, which also appear fake.
He has also been accused of forging a letter of recommendation before taking office at the Youth Board of Cyprus (ONEK). He was first appointed in 1996, securing a permanent job in 2007.
Yiannaki’s lawyer expressed fears that his client would not receive a fair trial, arguing that more than 1,100 articles have been written about him.
Later Thursday, the issue of the possible return of Yiannaki’s salary at ONEK was tabled to the House audit committee for discussion.
Akel MP Irene Charalambides said that she and other committee members from DIKO, EDEK and the Greens were all in favour of claiming the former volunteerism commissioner’s salary back.
According to reports, Yiannaki’s salary as commissioner was €5,090 per month.
President Nicos Anastasiades appointed Yiannaki volunteerism commissioner in May 2013.