The Cyprus police have completed the investigation of the golden passports case.
Former head of the House of Representatives Dimitris Sillouris and Member of Parliament from Akel Christakis Giovanis have been charged with involvement in the issuance of Cypriot passports to criminals.
The police recommended bringing them to criminal responsibility for corruption. Law enforcement officers conducted a serious investigation. The investigators looked through all the Al Jazeera reports and found indisputable evidence.
The materials were handed over to the Attorney General, who is now expected to decide the fate of the accused. In other words, it now depends on George L. Savvides whether the case will go further to court.
The investigation into the scandal with Golden passports began in September last year after a series of videos appeared in the media that Cyprus grants citizenship to dubious persons.
Despite the launch of the investigation, the government has so far strongly defended the program, stating that it benefits the economy. However, after Al Jazeera published the video showing the former head of the House of Representatives Dimitris Sillouris and member of Parliament from Akel Christakis Giovanis offering assistance to a fictitious Chinese businessman with a criminal past in securing citizenship, the scandal could not be stopped.
Sillouris and Giovanis resigned, and Cyprus closed the Citizenship by Investment program.
A lengthy investigation has shed light on a lot of violations. Al Jazeera has official documents proving that dozens of convicted fraudsters, money laundering specialists and corrupt officials from other countries, including Russia and Ukraine, received Cypriot "golden passports". According to the publication, the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus allegedly turned a blind eye to the crimes of rich applicants for citizenship in order to keep afloat the economy going through not the best of times.
The list included the names of 2,544 people, of whom at least 1,400 are accused of financial crimes and other frauds at home.
Among them are Hong Kongers, representatives of the elite of Saudi Arabia, large businessmen from various countries - from Vietnam to Latin America. 35 new citizens of Cyprus turned out to be people wanted for criminal offenses or under international sanctions.
It is worth noting that the Cyprus police decided to investigate the case after the statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which stated that it had started checking the information published by Al Jazeera. At the same time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs explained that all the people mentioned in the publication had passed the necessary formal procedures according to the criteria that were in effect at the time of their application.
Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers decided to begin the process of revoking the Cypriot citizenship of 39 foreign investors and 6 members of their families.
It is worth noting that:
- Investors who will be deprived of citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus will not be refunded the registration fees they paid when applying.
- They will not be reimbursed for the financial costs of preparing a package of documents for filing and paying for the work of lawyers and consultants.
- The real estate objects that they acquired as one of the conditions for granting citizenship will remain in their ownership.
- Foreign investors deprived of Cypriot citizenship have the right to challenge the decision of the Cyprus government in court.
- Chronicles of the Cyprus passport saga. Part 33
- Chronicles of the Cyprus passport saga. Part 32
- Chronicles of the Cyprus passport saga. Part 31
- Chronicles of the Cyprus passport saga. Part 30
- Chronicles of the Cyprus passport saga. Part 29
- Chronicles of the Cyprus passport saga. Part 28