Anorthosis president held over alleged fraud

NICOSIA - Andreas Panteli, president of Champions League contenders Anorthosis Famagusta, is being held in police custody over alleged financial irregularities at the Cypriot club. A court on Saturday ordered Panteli to remain in custody for three days in light of accusations of fraud and embezzlement through false representation. Police said he was arrested late on Friday night after a complaint by members of the board over the alleged theft of 418,498 euros ($541,400) and a separate attempt to extract 500,000 euros from the club. The 48-year-old Panteli, who denies the allegations, said: "There were never any financial discrepancies. "Any actions were taken in the full awareness of the board of directors and were always done with the best interests of the club at heart," he said in a statement. BOARD MEETING Anorthosis vice-president Antonis Demetriou told reporters a board meeting was held before Wednesday's Champions League match at home to Werder Bremen but the club decided to wait until Friday to act. "Unfortunately the excuses given to us (by Panteli) were unfounded ... he asked for more time (until Friday) to give us further details ... we were not given any justification and were obliged to proceed by alerting the police," he said. The court allowed Panteli to attend a board meeting for two hours on Saturday. Cyprus police chief Iacovos Papacostas said: "The whole issue has shocked the public. "The CID will approach this case cautiously and no one will be victimised. At the same time there will be no cover up." Anorthosis drew 2-2 with Werder and are third in Group B, two points adrift of leaders Inter Milan and one behind Panathinaikos.