Anorthosis official still held as fraud probe continues

NICOSIA, Dec 2 (Reuters) - A senior official of Champions League side Anorthosis Famagusta remained in police custody on Tuesday in an embezzlement probe by police.

Andreas Panteli, who police said was assisting inquiries into the alleged embezzlement of 418,000 euros ($528,600) from the club and an attempt to extract some 500,000 euros more, was remanded for a further three days by a district magistrate.

He has not been charged and denies the allegations. His arrest on Nov. 28 was made on the basis of complaints by other members of the club's board.

Credited by some for being instrumental in turning around the flagging financial fortunes of the team, Panteli, 48, has said he will step down from the helm of the club.

Though denying claims of wrongdoing, he has said he would be willing to pay back any debt if any financial discrepancy is found by independent auditors.

Anorthosis, the first Cypriot team in the Champions League, drew 2-2 at home to Werder Bremen last week. They are third in Group B, and must beat Panathinaikos in Athens on Dec. 9 to reach the last 16 in the knockout phase of the competition.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas, editing by Ken Ferris)