ENOUGH chests, amphoras and other artifacts for three antique stores were yesterday hauled away from the Pyrga home of MEP Marios Matsakis by police, in the second such raid in a week.
CID officials and police officers in plain clothing loaded chest upon chest onto lines of lorries. Meanwhile, dressed in a smart suit and tie and clutching a clipboard and camera, Matsakis looked more like a factory owner carrying out an inventory than a man having his items from his home seized by the police.
The Euro MP is currently facing two serious charges: one involving the suspicion that he was involved in smuggling chests from the occupied areas and the other relating to claims he tried to blackmail a Drug Squad officer, offering to change his testimony in an attempted manslaughter case involving the officer, provided he was paid £10,000.
Matsakis’ home is tucked away on the outskirts of the village. His front garden was yesterday scattered with hundreds of large Grecian urns and the road outside was littered with sponges, used to prevent the 110 chests from scratching in the lorries.
The outspoken maverick MEP, who looked almost as if he was leading the operation, said little this time in what was an uncomfortable situation. Last Sunday during the first police raid, Matsakis has been more outspoken.
“The funny thing is I have to help my sister move into her new house tomorrow”, joked one sweaty officer to a colleague as he helped carry a heavy brown chest onto the back of a lorry.
Matsakis has not only created waves at home this week, he has also caused a stir in the European parliament. In the latest parliament session in Brussels, Matsakis raised a picture showing a map of Cyprus with “Cyprus is a British colony” written in bold on it while British Prime Minister Tony Blair was making an address.
Blair’s reaction to Matsakis prompted Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou to state that “Cyprus is no longer a British colony. If Mr. Matsakis has not realised that fact, then it is a shame.”
Annoyed by the lack of support from the home contingent, Matsakis turned his guns on Iacovou. “Perhaps Mr. Iacovou should go and speak with the residents of the Akrotiri villages or the residents of the Dhekelia area so they can remind him that parts of Cyprus are still under the British rule.
“Perhaps he should visit Troodos or Ayios Nicolaos so he can see the British radar systems there or maybe he should drop by and watch the British military exercises in Melanta Pissouriou or the Xylofagou shooting range.”