Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Pittadjis doubles down on attack against Al Jazeera

Lawyer Andreas Pittadjis, who was exposed in Al Jazeera’s ‘The Cyprus Papers’ documentary on Thursday called out the international news network to state its stance on human trafficking after one of its undercover journalists, he claimed, hired the services of a prostitute while in Cyprus for their investigation into the country’s citizenship by investment scheme.

Pittadjis along with then House president Demetris Syllouris and Akel MP Christakis Giovanis, was seen in the video released by Al Jazeera last October offering to help a fictitious Chinese businessman with a criminal record to secure citizenship.

The lawyer, three months later, launched a campaign to clear his name by releasing sound recordings and other information concerning his meetings with the undercover Al Jazeera journalists during their visit to Cyprus in 2019 when they had appeared as representatives of a Chinese criminal and were trying to see if they could get him a Cypriot passport.

Pittadjis said in a new social media post on Thursday that on October 26, 2019, one of the undercover journalists visited a cabaret in Ayia Napa and left with a woman who was working there. Pittadjis called on Al Jazeera to state if its employee had purchased the services of the woman whom he took to his hotel room.

He says he has a video but would not make it public “for obvious reasons.” Pittadjis said the undercover journalist bragged to him to next day that he had a good time.

“Since you came to Cyprus to sell us ethics and lawfulness, I dare you to deny this,” Pittadjis said in his post addressed to Al Jazeera. He also called on Al Jazeera’s David Harrison, the journalist behind the Cyprus Papers investigation, to state his position on human trafficking and the exploitation of women and prostitution

Pittadjis reiterated that Al Jazeera’s motives were aimed at serving Turkish interests and called on its staff, the next time they are in Cyprus, to go to Varosha, in occupied Famagusta and film his mother’s house and his father’s office, “held by your chums, the Turks.”

On Wednesday, the lawyer, claimed Al Jazeera had misreported what he had told the undercover journalists and presented him as appearing willing to help their client change his name so that he could get a Cypriot passport. He said they failed to include in the video that he told them he could change his name after getting the passport, but that their client could not get one anyway.

The lawyer’s posts have attracted lots of attention with some congratulating him for his courage and others expressing their annoyance with his behaviour.

After his latest post, many accused him of trying to defer attention from the dodgy passports issue by drawing attention to the undercover journalist’s alleged conduct while in Cyprus.

Harrison said last month during an interview with Cyprus-based podcast channel Blitz’s ‘Forward Thinking’ show, that Cyprus came up during investigations in the UK into a different aspect of corruption.

He explained that they had a very similar setup as the one in Cyprus, two undercover reporters acting on behalf of a Chinese billionaire who was a convicted criminal. One of the people they met in the UK, told them they could get him a new passport and called the person for the job.

They were brought in touch with a former Scotland Yard police officer who told them he had good contacts in Cyprus. “He could have said Malta, he could have said Portugal, he could have said anywhere but his contacts happened to be in Cyprus,” Harrison said.

He said statements in Cyprus that Al Jazeera was targeting the country because of Qatar’s close ties with Turkey, “made us laugh.”

“Cyprus wasn’t even on our mind, when we started this,” he said. The idea this was a deliberate attack on Cyprus is absurd, he added.

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