Cyprus Police Were Instructed To Start Collecting Evidence In The Case Of "Golden Passports"
The legal service of the Republic of Cyprus, which performs the functions of the Prosecutor General's office in this island state, ordered the police to start collecting evidence in the case of alleged violations of the law in the implementation of the program for granting Cypriot citizenship in exchange for investment in the island's economy, according to the official message of the service distributed on Saturday, which was made after it read the report of the investigative commission of the Cypriot government under the leadership of the Chairman of the securities and exchange Committee Demeter Kalogiru.
"After a preliminary review of the report of the three-person special Commission of Kalogiru, which was passed to us by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for assessment, the legal service informs that it has instructed the police to launch an investigation to determine whether any criminal offenses were committed," the report says.
The legal service also promised not to take any public position on this issue, so as not to influence the course of the investigation.
The false pretense for seven passports
The official report of the legal service does not provide any information about the number of questionable cases or the persons involved in the investigation. However, as the Cyprus Mail newspaper reported on its website this evening, the Kalogiru Commission examined 12 folders of documents, which are used by 42 people and which the investigation classifies as persons of the "high risk" category.
The publication claims that ten folders combining the applications of 35 people indicate that the applicants meet the necessary criteria for granting them Cypriot citizenship. However, the four separate cases contained in the remaining two folders indicate that the applications of the seven individuals listed there did not meet these criteria. But despite this, they received Cypriot passports.
Accordingly, according to the newspaper, the results of the investigation of this commission concluded that the seven defendants received Cypriot citizenship under a false pretext. Their cases were referred to the Prosecutor General, Yorgos Savvidis, to determine whether an offense had been committed and whether the Cypriot state should start the process of revoking already issued passports.
According to the newspaper, the Kalogiru Commission also recommended that 12 more people wanted by the authorities of their countries be stripped of their citizenship.
In August, the al-Jazeera TV channel launched an information campaign called" Cyprus papers", which aimed to prove that the Ministry of internal Affairs of Cyprus, contrary to the provisions of national legislation, provided so-called Golden passports to persons, including Russian citizens, who were suspected of committing certain crimes or were even wanted at the time of consideration of their applications.
In response, the Minister of internal Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Nouris, accused al-Jazeera of orchestrating an attack on his country "by distorting facts and misleading."
Without naming the names of the defendants in the list, he stressed that the inspection conducted by the Department of naturalization of the Ministry of Interior showed that all 117 persons who, according to the channel, received Cypriot citizenship despite existing in the country norms and regulations, "at the time of filing their applications met the criteria of a Cypriot investment program and had a clean history of convictions in criminal cases in countries of origin and of residence."
Despite this statement by the Interior Minister, the President of the Cypriot Parliament, Dimitris Sillouris, put forward the idea of either completely abandoning the "Golden passport" program, or suspending it until it is improved. After that, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, promised to ensure "an effective and decisive investigation of exceptional cases of naturalization" as part of the implementation of the program for granting Cypriot citizenship in exchange for investment in the island state's economy. Then, at the initiative of the head of state, an investigative commission was appointed, whose tasks are determined by the Prosecutor General and whose competence covers the period of the investment program from 2007 to July 31, 2020.