Cyprus Mail

Nouris testifies in front of committee looking into passports

Nouris at the committee on Tuesday

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris on Tuesday gave a sworn testimony to the investigative committee on citizenships by investment after being summoned to clarify some points in the documents he had earlier submitted.

He is expected to testify again since more information was needed by the committee members for which the minister said he would get back to them.

The independent committee, appointed by the attorney-general last month to scrutinise all citizenships given to investors, said in a written statement that Nouris had submitted, among other things, an official file of the naturalisations of foreign investors and businessmen as well as their relatives.

Though that information had already been given to the committee from competent state services, “because some contradictions were found, it was deemed appropriate by the investigating committee for the minister to submit an official list under oath, as well as other procedural documents.”

During his oral testimony, the minister was asked for explanations regarding the process of acquiring Cypriot citizenship by foreign investors and businessmen, the time of completion of such a process, the untimely adoption of regulations for the investment scheme, the way applicants were checked in relation to due diligence, the actions he has taken on the investment scheme after assuming his duties and for any possible interventions.

“Other information has been requested from the interior minister, which he will submit under oath to the committee as soon as possible,” the committee said.

At present, a number of files have been archived and are under examination, while the interior ministry is expected to send all the files. The committee recalled that all naturalisations between 2007 and August 17, 2020 will be examined.

Due to that it will take time to complete the procedure, and the committee said it will submit interim reports to the attorney general when they deem it is necessary.

Last month the government scrapped the investment scheme as of November 1 after another damning report by Al Jazeera whose undercover journalists filmed House president Demetris Syllouris and Akel MP Christakis Giovani appearing ready to help a Chinese businessman with a criminal record — who it later emerged was fictitious – secure a Cypriot passport. Both Syllouris and Giovani resigned.

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