Cyprus Mail

State foots the bill for scammed jobless Cypriots

Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos

By Staff Reporter

INTERIOR Minister Socratis Hasikos has arranged for the repayment of the cost of repatriating 41 unemployed Cypriots from France, after they had been duped into paying recruitment fees to a fake recruitment agency that flew them there under false pretences of guaranteed employment, the ministry said.

The victims were flown back to Cyprus last September, with the government footing the bill for the 41 stranded Cypriots.

In a written statement, the ministry announced that although the repatriation cost should be reimbursed to the state by the victims, after being informed of the case Hasikos decided to cover the cost in full from the minister’s discretionary ‘Financial Aid’ fund.

“Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos decided to cover the sum total of the expenditure so that our unemployed compatriots are not burdened further,” the statement said. “The sum total of €12,000 will be paid to the migration department out of the interior ministry’s ‘Financial Aid’ fund.”

More than 400 unemployed Cypriots had been deceived into shelling out €620 each last fall, when a recruitment agency in Larnaca promised guaranteed employment in France. The scam was revealed after many were flown to France to find the promised construction project had been a ruse to separate them from their money, but it was all too late as approximately €260,000 had been pocketed by the scoundrels, who then vanished without a trace.

The migration department promptly arranged for the repatriation of 72 people, who were subsequently expected to reimburse the department for the cost. But not all could afford to pay the cost, resulting in Hasikos’ decision to take it on.

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