The Immovable Property Commission (IPC) decided on 28 November, 2017 to award just short of £23 million sterling as compensation for the pre-1974 value of the Jasmine Court Hotel and its surrounding plot of land in Kyrenia.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Havadis’, the hotel, which had been the most luxurious hotel in the TRNC in the 1980’s, belongs to the Phoros Company. After 1974, the hotel was run by Omer Lutfu Topal, known as “the king of casinos”. Topal had bought the hotel from Asil Nadir during the 1980’s and had turned it into a casino, but he died in 1996.
The decision of the IPC was conveyed to Elif Topal, the daughter of late Omer Topal, who stated that she was ready to buy her share by paying 50% of the amount. In spite of the fact that Phoros Company raised no objection for the sale of the property to the Topal family, notes the paper, the process entered into deadlock because the state does not have the resources to pay its share and is not willing to pay the above-mentioned money. Moreover, in order for the sale to take place, the sides concerned need to file a joint application. However, the Bank of Scotland, which is among Phoros Company’s shareholders, does not seem very enthusiastic about the purchase of 50% of the hotel’s shares by the Topal family. Officials of the bank seem reluctant because they will not be able to transfer the money into the British banking system, due to the fact that it was obtained from the proceeds of gambling activities.
The paper reports that, to date, 6,412 Greek Cypriot applications have been submitted to the IPC. 1,082 of these applications were concluded and Turkey has paid just under £201 million sterling as compensation to Greek Cypriots for the loss of their properties in the north.