After the Investigative Committee presented on Friday, April 16 an interim report on the results of the Golden passports investigation, the government of Cyprus is trying to smooth out the public anger in every possible way.
As you may know according to the statement of Myron Nicolatos, 51.8% of the total number of applications for obtaining Cypriot citizenship were approved illegally. As it became known later, the illegal passports were of relatives of foreign investors.
A representative of the government, speaking on Monday, April 19, on the national channel RIK, said that when the problem of the lack of legal protection in the naturalization of investors' relatives was identified, the government made and approved the corresponding amendments.
However, his statement was denied by the Legal Service, which said that the naturalization of relatives was carried out with various violations since July 2015. The government was notified of this. However, they took no action. Moreover, they continued to issue passports and turned a blind eye to the non-compliance of the applicants' relatives with the program criteria.
By the way, the main problem was that the current law on the Population Archives did not provide for and did not allow the naturalization of relatives using the KEP procedure.
And only in August 2020, the corresponding amendments were finally made, when about 3,500 relatives of investors received the passports of Cyprus.
It should also be noted that it is not entirely true that the government hastened to fill the lack of regulations and strengthen the legal framework, as the government camp claims.
Undoubtedly, the Anastasiades government was the first to amend the basic law to allow the naturalization of investors and entrepreneurs with special guidance, but it is also true that it showed great delay and oligarchy in submitting decrees to parliament. And they did this only when the parliament, at the suggestion of the Ecologists party, actually banned the issuance of exclusive passports from January 31, 2020 without prior approval of regulations.
Thus, the regulations were submitted for consideration in the spring of 2020 and adopted in July.
It should also be noted that during the interrogation of the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades by the Investigative Committee, the members Pavlos Ioannou and Demetra Kalogirou pointed out to the president that 2 letters were received from the Prosecutor's Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the inconsistency of the Cyprus Investment Program with the legislation of the European Union during the period from 2015 to 2016. However, the government did not take them into account.
As for the total number of illegal naturalizations, the head of the research committee Myron Nicolatos and Demetra Kalogirou clarified the situation yesterday.
In particular, they noted that 51.8% (out of a total of about 6,800 naturalizations) announced on Friday, concerns only spouses, adult children and parents of investors, for whom there was no corresponding provision in the law on naturalization.
In the remaining 48.2% (naturalized investors) there are also cases of illegal issuance of passports. There is no information about the exact amount or percentage yet.
In turn, on the part of foreign investors, when applying for Cypriot citizenship, many violations were also revealed that relate to different criteria of the scheme.
The most common violations in the issuance of passports were:
- The Administration found no non-compliance with the applicable criteria and sent a positive proposal to the Minister.
- The Ministry of Internal Affairs revealed that the applicant did not meet certain criteria of the program, informed the relevant authorities about this, but they did not take these remarks into account.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was asked to close its eyes on non-fulfillment of any criteria for granting naturalization for reasons of public interest.
- Investors, through intermediary suppliers, submitted deceptive or fraudulent documents on the basis of which their naturalization was allowed, while today's closer scrutiny proves otherwise.
- Investors obtained Cypriot citizenship, meeting the criteria, but then were convicted of criminal offenses or money laundering, which was the basis for the revocation of citizenship.
- The investors were granted citizenship, apparently meeting the criteria, but the audit process showed that the investments required by the criteria were not fully realized.
Meanwhile, it became known recently that the main characters of the scandalous video Al Jazeeera will appear before the Investigative Committee. In the coming days, former speaker of parliament Demetris Syllouris, then former AKEL deputy and businessman Christakis Giovanis, as well as lawyer Andreas Pittadjis will testify regarding their participation in the Cyprus investment program.
The Special Committee has already interrogated former Finance Minister Harris Georgiadis, Acting Finance Minister Konstantinos Petrides, Archbishop Chrysostomos, Head of the Bar Christos Clerides, Director of Icpac (Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus) Kyriakos Iordanou, and President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, Head of Central Bank Constantinos Herodotou.
Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga:
- Part 1 (link)
- Part 2 (link)
- Part 3 (link)
- Part 4 (link)
- Part 5 (link)
- Part 6 (link)
- Part 7 (link)
- Part 8 (link)
- Part 9 (link)
- Part 10 (link)
- Part 11 (link)
- Part 12 (link)
- Part 13 (link)
- Part 14 (link)
- Part 15 (link)
- Part 16 (link)
- Part 17 (link)
- Part 18 (link)
- Part 19 (link)
- Part 20 (link)