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15 April, 2021
 
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Cyprus asked to clarify passport probe impasse

Government says it will respond to audit global network after state's auditor reached out to colleagues

Newsroom

The Cypriot government says it will comply with a request from an international organization of audit institutions, which asked to hear the administration’s view over the golden passports probe impasse after the state’s auditor sought support from the global network.

According to government spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos, the administration received on Tuesday a letter from INTOSAI, seeking an official response to accusations by Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides regarding blocked access to golden passport files.

Koushos said that INTOSAI, which operates as an umbrella organization for state auditors worldwide, was seeking the government’s position on the overall disagreement between the government and the auditor general.

The auditor general, who is a member of INTOSAI, says he sought help from the network after realizing the government opposed actions by the audit office and ramped up the rhetoric against him

Both government and auditor have been at loggerheads over access to case files linked to Cyprus’ disgraced Citizenship by Investment Programme, following a legal opinion issued by Attorney General George Savvides who advised the interior ministry not to hand over data citing an ongoing investigation.

According to Koushos, the international organization asked the government to provide any additional information that might support the administration’s rationale in blocking access to the files.

“The government is in consultation with the state’s attorney general on legal issues raised over the matter,” Koushos said, adding that the administration would “provide necessary documents and all information based on which decisions had been taken.”

Michaelides, who is a member of INTOSAI on his capacity as a state auditor general, recently explained he sought help from the intergovernmental network after realizing the government appeared to oppose actions by the audit office and ramped up the rhetoric against himself, accusing the auditor of overstepping his authority.

Koushos said the government would use well-documented observations to address the allegations launched against the state by the auditor general.

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