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Cyprus

AG’s office ‘assessing’ material in Pandora Papers

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Giorgos Savvides

The Law Office of the Republic is “assessing” the material made public through the Pandora Papers, and if it spots content meriting a criminal probe it will instruct the police to do so, Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides said Thursday.

“No doubt the Pandora Papers does not leave any authority or government disinterested,” Savvides said responding to journalists’ questions about the massive document dump, which among others involved allegations of shady dealings regarding the law firm founded by President Nicos Anastasiades.

“What I can say,” Savvides added, “is that at the Law Office – like we do with similar cases, such as the al Jazeera video – we study and assess, and to the extent that we deem there is any matter requiring a criminal investigation, we duly instruct the police so that it can proceed with the necessary investigation, without necessarily making our intentions public.”

Regarding the revelations last year by the al Jazeera news network – the final nail in the coffin for Cyprus’ passport programme – the AG said investigations are at “an advanced stage.”

“I completely understand that people want quick results. As I said from the first moment we saw the video, it justifiably causes anger and frustration among the public – but it is one thing to want to take the investigation forward, and another to be able to do that.

“It is not easy to secure evidence that can stand in court. A great deal of work has been done on this case [the al Jazeera video], and I think that we are at an advanced stage. I hope that soon there will be an outcome in this case.”

In mid-October 2020 al Jazeera aired an undercover documentary showing then-House president Demetris Syllouris and an MP offering to help proxies of a pretend Chinese businessman (with an ostensibly criminal record) obtain a Cypriot passport.

The backlash from the reveal forced Syllouris to resign, and also led the government to nix the citizenship-by-investment programme soon after.

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