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Legal service instructs police to launch probe into seven passports

The legal service on Saturday announced it had given police instructions to launch investigations into possible criminal offences in connection with the discovery that seven individuals had secured Cypriot citizenship under false pretences or by withholding important information.

The instructions to the police were given after the legal service assessed the report of the Ad-hoc committee, led by the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Demetra Kalogirou, into certain citizenships granted from 2012 to 2018. The findings of the committee’s investigation were announced earlier this month.

The legal service on Saturday clarified that the file forwarded to the police concerns the cases which the Ad-hoc committee had investigated.

It also said that another committee, appointed by the attorney-general to investigate the naturalisations of foreign businessmen and investors from 2007 until August 17, 2020, which is the date of the publication of the new legal framework, has already begun its work. Therefore, it said it would not make further public statements on the matter, to protect the ongoing process.

The three-member Ad-hoc committee examined 12 files involving 42 individuals considered “high risk.” It found that 10 files involving 35 individuals met the formal criteria while two, concerning seven individuals, did not although the people concerned were still granted citizenship.

According to the findings, seven individuals – four separate cases – had secured citizenship under false pretences or by withholding important information. These cases were referred to the attorney-general to decide whether there was a crime and whether the state should launch the process of rescinding the passports.

The committee also recommended rescinding the citizenships of 12 other people – three files — who are wanted by the authorities in their countries.

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