Dear Lord Alan Sugar
Re: The Apprentice TV Series and the Candidate Jamie Lester
On Behalf of the Ayious Amvrosios Association uk * I would ask for your personal attention to this matter and would appreciate your help.
A contestant on your wonderful Apprentice TV show, Jamie Lester, has in recent years been engaged in illegal business transactions, building and selling holiday homes and villas on our land in the illegally occupied north part of Cyprus.
The Turkish invasion of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974 had a devastating effect on our lives. We were forcibly evicted from our homes and properties and many of our loved ones have lost their lives or are still missing. To find that a contestant on your show is now priding himself on building so called successful business using our properties, adds insult to injury.
On the 20th October 2006 a criminal code amendment relating to property came into effect. Under this amendment, buying, selling, renting, promoting or mortgaging a property without the permission of the owner (the person whose ownership is registered with the Republic of Cyprus Land Registry, including Greek Cypriots displaced from northern Cyprus in 1974), is a criminal offence. This also applies to agreeing to sell, buy or rent a property without the owner’s permission.
Over 80 per cent of the land in the north of Cyprus is owned by Greek Cypriots, many of them now living in the UK, who were displaced by the Turkish army in 1974. These refugees have not been allowed to return to their homes since then. Several high profile legal cases, such as the Loizidou vs Turkey and most recently Mr Apostolides vs the Orams, have found in favour of the Greek Cypriot refugees and confirmed that transactions involving the refugees properties are illegal under EU law. Mr Lester has been misleading and deceiving British buyers into investing in the occupied areas, many of whom may end up loosing their investments and facing criminal charges. For the record, Mr and Mrs Orams, not only lost their case, they ended up paying £750,00 for legal costs, have been ordered to demolish the villa illegally erected on Mr Apostolides land and to pay for compensation and pecuniary damages in the order of many more thousands of pounds. As you can appreciate there is absolutely no doubt that your ‘Apprentice’ is an unscrupulous property dealer that should have no place on your TV show.
As an organisation we are particularly distressed as Mr Lester’s company North Cyprus International is involved in selling properties build on land in our own small town of Ayios Amvrosios, renamed by the Turkish invaders as Essentepe soon after the invasion. Please access the company’s website for further confirmation http://www.northcyprusinternational.net/
We are all huge fans of yours, and many of us watch the Apprentice with our families and children. You have become an important role model that is why we feel that this is something you may not have been aware of, so we would like to bring it to your attention. Many British Cypriot fans have adopted your business acumen leading to enterprising people in the community with excellent and successful businesses. However many of us are now bemused and disappointed as to how a contestant that boasts about such business declared as illegal by the European and British courts, can be allowed on this most popular TV show.
I sincerely hope that you will investigate this case and take decisive and just action that suits your personality and reputation.
George Christou – Press Desk
* Ayios Amvrosios Association is a human rights, charity organisation, based in the UK. Its members consist of mostly Greek Cypriot refugees and their descendants that were displaced from the little town of Ayios Amvrosios in the Kyrenia District, under Turkish military occupation since the invasion of 1974.