Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said Friday Diko chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos knew well the citizenship by investment regulations he was accusing the government of flouting because his law firm also offered the service.
Petrides, who was interior minister at the time, broke his silence on Friday after what he described as days of “unethical and malicious” criticism from Papadopoulos.
The former interior minister said he was accused that the spouses and dependents of investors had been unlawfully naturalised during his term in office while Papadopoulos “insists on Executive corruption citing a video in which the stars were members of the legislature.”
Petrides said the Diko chairman knew well that the policy on the naturalisation of spouses and dependents was part of the programme since 2011. The decision, taken by the cabinet at the time, was incorporated to later reviews of the programme, and “the regulations that parliament approved.”
“I wonder if Mr Papadopoulos is pretending that he did not know the double-digit number of citizenships submitted by his law firm also concerned the naturalisation of spouses and dependents or if he is under the impression his firm submitted such applications in violation of the law,” Petrides said in statement.
He also defended expediting 18 applications linked to the casino resort investment, noting that interior ministers have the discretionary power to expedite whenever he deems justified, without even doing so in writing.
“In this case, and for transparency reasons, the exceptional instructions to expedite were given in writing, if the request was deemed justified, for large investments for example or other humanitarian reasons.”
Petrides said that did not exempt the applications from scrutiny and the small number, as shown by the audit report, proves the discretionary power had not been abused.
“During a period when society justifiably shows contempt towards the institutions and political parties, I urge Mr. Papadopoulos, instead of slinging mud and engaging in PR stunts, to realise the gravity of the period the economy is going through and make a positive contribution instead of blackmail.”