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Cyprus

Anastasiades will resign ‘the next day’ if any wrongdoing found in law firm’s passport dealings

President Nicos Anastasiades

President Nicos Anastasiades would resign “the next day” if he or his law firm is implicated in any wrongdoing in the citizenship for investment scheme, he was quoted as saying on Sunday.

In an interview with Simerini, part of which was published on Sigmalive, Anastasiades, who has come under heavy fire from opposition Akel, said: “Let’s look at the citizenship application by my former law firm. If there is any instance, and I repeat, and I would like to underline, which would show that either my former law firm or myself for any purpose, have given any illicit favours to anyone, I will resign the next day.”

The issue has been highlighted in recent weeks after a Reuters investigation showed how relatives and friends of Cambodia’s authoritarian prime minister had been granted Cypriot passports in 2016 and 2017.

The cabinet ordered an investigation into the specific case, and a day later expanded it to other cases of people who were granted citizenship under the island’s investment scheme using older less-strict criteria, which was changed this year, and which is more transparent, the government says, though critics do not agree.

According to documents shown in parliament, the president’s law firm had handled 41 applications out of a grand total of 4,000, the government said during the week.

Commenting on other issues in the interview with Simerini, Anastasiades, asked about a government reshuffle, said he would announce his decisions before the end of the year.

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