The four defendants in the ‘golden passports’ scandal exposed by Al Jazeera in October 2020, and a subsequent independent investigation, will appear again before the Nicosia court on September 12 after the case was thrown out in June on a technicality.
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.
The Nicosia criminal court threw out the case in June citing a change in the court composition. As a result, the case had to be refiled, but in the meantime, it left all four defendants temporarily acquitted of all charges.
A new charge sheet had to be filed at the court, which contained the same charges. These include 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.
The four defendants will appear in court at 9am on September 12 where they will be charged and asked to admit or deny the charges against them.
The prosecuting authority will also request that the four defendants stay released until their trial, on conditions to ensure their presence at the trial, CNA reported.
The four defendants appeared for the first time before the Nicosia District Court, on September 12, 2022, where it was decided to refer them to a direct trial before the criminal court.
Previously, conditions were imposed by the court in order to ensure the presence of the defendants at the trial. For the defendants Syllouris, Giovanni and Antoniou, bail was decided at €50,000 each with a creditable guarantor, while for Pittadjis, a guarantee of €30,000 with a guarantor was imposed by the court.
The case was registered in mid-July 2022 at the Nicosia District Court, with the aim of referring it to the criminal court. The trial began based on the findings of the Nicolatos investigation into the citizenship-by-investment scheme. The publication of the Al Jazeera documentary led to the withdrawal of the scheme the following month.