Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga. Part 25

Хроники кипрской саги о паспортах. Часть 25
19 May 2021 DOM LiVE
2305

It became known on Wednesday, May 19 that the Investigative Commission identified 100 new cases of granting citizenship to investors who are at high risk.

All problem cases refer to the period from 2016 to 2020.

According to the chairman of the Commission, Myron Nicolatos, violations were discovered during the new stage of document verification. Members of the Commission are now simultaneously studying letters of complaints from persons involved in the dossier, which refer to inaccuracies in the recently published interim report.

Nicolatos noted that the Committee received about 5-6 letters from affected individuals and organizations, where they indicate that the interim report contains inaccuracies in some points. He explained that the letters were already being carefully studied by the members of the Commission. If inaccuracies are found, the Commission will make appropriate amendments.

Nicolatos said that the interrogation of the main persons involved in the case of the illegal issuance of Golden passports is almost over.

It remains for the Investigative Commission to listen only to the testimony of the lawyer Andreas Demetriades, whose law firm carried out the largest number of naturalizations.

According to figures presented to parliament last November, the law firm Andreas Chr. Dimitriadis D.E.P.E. contributed to the naturalization of 137 people: 3 foreigners in 2014, 18 foreigners in 2015, 25 foreigners in 2016, 56 foreigners in 2017 and 35 foreigners in 2018.

Demetriades is expected to testify nearest time. Earlier, the interrogation of the lawyer had to be postponed as he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nicolatos stressed that the final report will be multi-page, but not cumbersome, like the interim, which will also be integrated into the final dossier.

We will also make a conclusion on all high and low risk cases, which we will subsequently add to the final conclusion, - said Nicolatos.

As you may know, according to the interim report, which covers the period from 2007 to August 17, 2020, 51.8% of the total number of naturalizations in Cyprus turned out to be illegal.

The interim findings of the Commission are currently in the hands of the Cyprus Police, which has launched their own investigation in order to identify the persons against whom criminal proceedings will be initiated.

Nicolatos finally expressed satisfaction with the work of the Investigative Committee, which included former Supreme Court Justice Costas Pamballis, Deputy Auditor General Kyriakos Kyriakou, and Finance Commissioner Pavlos Ioannou.

I am satisfied and I think it was a very good job. The Commission acted impartially and independently. I hope that we will issue a final opinion on June 7, within the timeframe set by the Attorney General, Niсolatos concluded.

Meanwhile, the European Court of Audit has called on the Cypriot government to respect the constitutional role of the Audit Office of the Republic of Cyprus in overseeing and facilitating the fulfillment of a mandate.

The European Court of Audit noted that any attempt to obstruct the investigation carried out by the Auditor General and his team is contrary to the fundamental principles of the European Union.

The European Court of Accounts calls on all interested parties to respect the constitutional role of the Accounts Chamber of the Republic of Cyprus and to assist it in fulfilling its mandate, the statement says.

The European Court of Audit demanded that the Cyprus Audit Office be given access to all data that would allow them to conduct an extended audit of almost 7 thousand exceptional cases of naturalization that took place in the country.

It is noteworthy that the European Court of Audit and the Supreme Audit Institutions of the EU Member States recognized the fact that there was an obstacle to the Auditor General from exercising the statutory control, as well as preparing reports on his work and deciding on the content and timing of their audit reports, their publication and distribution.

The European Court of Audit expressed the hope that the government of Cyprus would change their position and allow the country's Auditor General to conduct an audit normally. At the same time, the European Court of Accounts stressed its readiness to become an intermediary between the two parties.

In turn, the Attorney General of Cyprus George Savvides and his assistant filed on Tuesday, May 18 two appeals to the Supreme Court against the decision of the parliament, which called for them to be removed from the investigation of cases with Golden passports.

AKEL, DIKO, Greens and Solidarity made a call in parliament to exclude the Attorney General and his assistant from the assessment of the interim conclusion of the Investigative Committee, since they worked in the ministry at the time when decisions were made on the naturalization of foreign investors. and therefore cannot conduct an impartial investigation.

The parliamentary decision was published in the Official Gazette on May 10, but Savvides' first appeal against this decision was registered in court on April 28. The reason for the appearance of two new appeals was new data that appeared after the publication of the parliamentary decree.

The first appeal was due to be heard by the Supreme Court on May 17, but the Attorney General requested that it be postponed due to new appeals he filed. By the way, one appeal came from his assistant Savvas Angelides, and the second from him.

The two new appeals have the same motives and arguments as the first, which calls for the overturn of a parliamentary decision that points to a conflict with the Constitution, the separation of powers and the Investigative Law, as well as European law.

The Attorney General said that after the publication of the parliament's decision, additional questions arise that relate to the legality of this decision. Among other things, he inquired whether the decision of the parliament should be sent to the President of Cyprus for approval or returned, as is done with the laws. Parliament was represented by lawyer Christos Clerides, who stated that this was a political decision. He also stressed that there can be no three appeals to the court on the same issue.

According to parliamentary sources, a parliamentary decision is not binding and is simply a recommendation from the legislature.

A hearing in this case is scheduled for the end of the month.

Хроники кипрской саги о паспортах. Часть 25

Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga:

Source: philenews.com, cyprus-mail, stockwatch.com.cy
Photos: pixabay.com, philenews
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