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Indictments refiled in golden passports case

passport The EU is already pushing through legal proceedings to shut down existing golden passport schemes in Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria

The indictments in the ‘golden passports’ case have been re-filed as promised, attorney-general Giorgos Savvides said on Tuesday.

“We said we would, and we did,” Savvides told reporters.

Taking questions about alleged “feet dragging” or a “cover up” by authorities in the case, the AG dismissed this.

The delay, he said, is due to the fact some of the criminal court judges have been transferred.

“The case therefore had to start anew. And it will start with a new composition [of the bench] of the criminal court.”

Earlier this month, Nicosia criminal court threw out the case on technical grounds, citing a change in the court composition.

Previously, deputy attorney general Savvas Angelides appeared in court, urging the case be reassessed under a new composition, as the changes at the criminal court would take place on June 30.

This is because the newly formed Supreme Court announced on January 30 includes Stavros Stavrou, who currently chairs the criminal court.

With the new Supreme Court bench set to begin on July 1, Stavrou will be moving to his new position, leaving his criminal court chairmanship to someone else.

As a result, per procedure, the defendants were temporarily acquitted of all charges until the re-filing of the same indictment. That has now happened.

The defendants are former House president Demetris Syllouris, former Akel MP and developer Christakis Giovanis, senior member of staff at the Giovanis Group Antonis Antoniou and lawyer Andreas Pittadjis.

They face charges of conspiracy to defraud the Republic, and influencing a public official in violation of the law that ratifies the Council of Europe Convention on the Criminalisation of Corruption.

Pittadjis is the only defendant to have entered a plea so far, pleading not guilty.

The trial began based on the findings of the Nicolatos investigation into the citizenship-by-investment scheme, prompted by the airing of a report by the Al Jazeera network.

 

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