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Cyprus revokes seven more passports (Updated)

Υπουργός Εσωτερικών – Ετήσιο μνημ
File Photo: Interior Minister Nicos Nourris

Cyprus is revoking seven more passports that were granted through the Cyprus investment programme, following a decision by the cabinet, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris announced on Wednesday.

Speaking after the meeting, Nouris said that the passports were granted to four investors and three of their family members.

He explained that the cabinet’s decision is based on the findings of the Myron Nikolatos inquiry committee, the sanctions imposed by the EU and the current legislative framework.

Τo date, the cabinet has revoked 45 passports in total based on incriminating evidence arising from investigations carried out after they were issued.

Moreover, according to daily Politis, another three criminal cases concerning the illegal issuance of passports will soon be brought before justice.

The indictment of these cases concerns fraudulent and conspiratorial offences carried out by legal firms and construction companies with the aim of defrauding the Republic, according to unnamed sources cited by Politis.

In the coming days, a meeting between the legal service and police’ investigative units looking into the golden passports scheme will be scheduled to brief the attorney general and his deputy on the latest.

The police’ investigative units were setup just after the Nikolatos inquiry committee released its report and are in direct communication with the legal service’ attorneys who are guiding investigations.

The Nikolatos inquiry committee report had found that more than half of the 6,779 citizenship granted were unlawful while of the 47 per cent lawful applications one third did not satisfy the criteria, meaning that only 2,102 ere completely in the clear.

The Nikolatos report was issued before the Audit Office’s own report into the matter was issued last week, which highlighted a series of malpractices and potential criminal offences.

It noted that a very large number of people who were approved under the scheme did not meet the criteria, while at least 3,810 additional people were naturalised as relatives (spouses, adult dependent children, or parents) of the investors without any authorisation in the relevant law.

According to the report, €200m were lost from VAT, as well as €25m from the non-payment of fees.

In addition, €1bn worth of contracts were cancelled while contracts worth an additional €3.5bn are still pending.

 

 

 

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