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Papadopoulos rejects paper’s passport claim

Diko leader Nicholas Papadopoulos

Diko chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos suggested Wednesday that an intimidation campaign was afoot after a newspaper reported that the law firm bearing his father’s name had actively engaged in securing citizenships through the country’s controversial investment programme.

“The establishment of corruption continues its trite lies that I supposedly participate in a law firm,” Papadopoulos tweeted. “They are threatening us in an effort to withdraw our demand for the citizenships to be probed by the auditor-general.”

Papadopoulos has been vocal in accusing the government of corruption after an Al Jazeera undercover video showed the House president and an MP offering to help a fictitious Chinese businessman with a criminal record secure citizenship.

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides, who held the interior portfolio at the time in question, accused Papadopoulos of hypocrisy since the Tassos Papadopoulos law firm was also offering the service. Petrides said the number of passports secured through the firm was in the double digits.

According to documents leaked a couple of years ago, the firm had secured 17 citizenships between 2013 and 2018.

Nicolas Papadopoulos, however, has said that he has given up his shares at the firm and has nothing to do with its operations.

Daily Politis reported on Wednesday that according to his capital statement, Papadopoulos was on the firm’s payroll as partner until at least 2013, the year the Disy-Diko coalition government introduced the scheme.

The paper said the law firm had partnered with Arton Capital, a global financial advisory firm specializing in impact investment programmes for residence and citizenship, which advertised completing the process in three to four months.

Papadopoulos’ party, Diko, suggested that Politis was part of the establishment that supported the Anastasiades administration.

It “continues to mislead and claim that the government which took the decisions to issue passports was the same as law firms that submitted applications,” the party said in a written statement.

The party said it would not back down, insisting on transparency and catharsis.

Diko repeated its demand that all citizenship application files should be handed over to the auditor-general, threatening that it would vote against the state budget for 2021.

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