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Government denies president used jet for private trip in 2015

Media reports had said President Anastasiades had travelled on the Saudi businessman’s jet in August 2015, a few months after the Saudi was granted citizenship

The government on Saturday said that President Nicos Anastasiades did not use the jet of a Saudi businessman who acquired a Cypriot passport for a private trip in 2015, refuting media reports claiming otherwise.

Government spokesman Kyriacos Kousios told Politis radio on Saturday that information heard at the House watchdog committee earlier in the week that Anastasiades had used the jet of the Saudi businessman for another private trip in 2015, long before the controversial trip to the Seychelles some two years ago, were not true.

According to the information published by daily Politis on Friday, Anastasiades had also travelled on the businessman’s jet in August 2015, a few months after the Saudi was granted citizenship.

The report, which was refuted by the government, came after accusations that Anastasiades had violated the code of ethics for using the jet for a family trip to the Seychelles in 2018. Anastasiades said on Thursday its use for the trip in question could have been avoided. The president also said using the aircraft did not violate the ethics code and that it had been a friendly gesture on behalf of the businessman and not a gift.

The president also used the aircraft in question for official trips; once in 2015, six times in 2017, 10 times in 2018 and 15 times in 2019.

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