Top cop in prison scandal to be suspended

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Justice Minister Stephi Dracos has decided to suspend the senior police officer accused of trying to blackmail the prison governor with a compromising video.

After prison boss Anna Aristotelous made a formal complaint, the minister said Tuesday she decided to suspend the unnamed police officer.

In the statement, she said the person was informed of her intention to do so, and the officer was given time to respond and seek legal advice before a final decision Wednesday.

Authorities launched an investigation on Monday into allegations by the 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 the central prisons chief and her deputy, Athena Demetriou, against the police officer.

Savvides said the investigation would conclude in about a month.

Aristotelous didn’t specify the possible motives for the senior police officer to allegedly recruit the inmate, who is serving a long sentence on a drug conviction.

She claimed the officer communicated with the inmate inside the prison through a mobile phone using an app.

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 is unclear why the officer allegedly took such measures to ruin the woman’s career.

Aristotelous said the officer should be suspended because he could interfere with the investigation.

She has also threatened to resign unless action was taken against the officer.

Government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said additional steps would be taken, and “responsibility will be apportioned” after the investigation is completed.

He said President Nicos Anastasiades was made aware of a problem between the prison governor and the police but not of this specific allegation until it was made public.

Aristotelous is a popular figure for her prison reform zeal and staff have come out in support of her.