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12° Nicosia,
04 December, 2022
 
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Cyprus government: No comment on passport audit report just yet

Government will thoroughly study report first before a comment will be released, according to spokesperson Marios Pelekanos

Source: CNA

The Government will study the report released Monday by the Audit Office on passports and the Cyprus investment program that granted citizenship by investment, Spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said, following the Cabinet’s meeting which convened Monday at the presidential retreat in the Troodos mountains.

The Audit Office released earlier its much-anticipated report of 150 pages which shows shortcomings and flaws.

Pelekanos told the press that the Government will make a statement but first needs to thoroughly study the findings of the Audit Office in relation to the report of the inquiry Committee led by Former supreme court judge Myron Nikolatos and the Law Office’s evaluations.

When asked to comment on one of the findings that there were hindrances in the inquiry over the last year, the Spokesperson said that no statement can be made at this point and that there will be comments after the government studies the findings.

In another question as to whether an inquiry will take place in Cyprus with regards to the spyware software and the scandal in Greece, the Spokesperson insisted that there is no connection between Cyprus with Predator or with everything taking place in Greece.

Pelekanos said that the Chief of the Cyprus Intelligence Service (CIS) briefs the political leaders on activities strictly related to matters of national security, terrorism and organized crime. Asked if Cyprus has obtained any software or equipment for surveillance, the Spokesperson said that there is a legal framework for these matters which was updated in 2020 and added that anything that falls within this framework cannot be an issue of a probe.

The Report by the Audit office

The Report by the Audit Office is 150 pages long and was published following an investigation of 3,517 cases of persons who were given Cyprus citizenship in the framework of the now scrapped Cyprus investment program.

The report says that many citizenships were granted without fulfillment of the criteria set by the Cabinet and the Cyprus Parliament and that there is a loss from VAT of €200 million.

Also, the probe shows that there is a €25 million loss from non-collection of fees, contracts worth €1 billion were canceled and contracts worth €3.5 billion are still pending. The probe shows that 3,810 persons were given Cyprus citizenship because they were relatives of investors, however, no such condition is included in the law.

Additionally, the report says that 27 persons related to casino activities were given Cyprus citizenship but did not fulfill the conditions.

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