House Speaker Demetris Syllouris says his mind is made up regarding his position in parliament but will abstain from duties and announce his decision after the conclusion of a probe into passport corruption.
Syllouris said on Tuesday that he would abstain from duties effective Monday, October 19, until an independent investigation into alleged corruption in the Citizenship by Investment Programme is concluded.
“First of all, I would like to offer a public apology for the sad picture seen by Cypriot people – and not only them – as well as the distress it has caused,” Syllouris said.
'I apologize because I allowed some people, even through such a publicized, orchestrated, and incomplete picture, to strike against me and the institution of the President of Parliament'
The announcement came a day after Al Jazeera released a video showing Syllouris and another MP, as well as a high-powered attorney and other realtors, offering support to undercover reporters, who had presented themselves as representatives of a Chinese investor with a criminal past.
Although the character was fictitious and no services had been offered, the video went on to show how a convicted criminal could go about obtaining a Cypriot passport at the right price.
“I apologize because I allowed some people, even through such a publicized, orchestrated, and incomplete picture, to strike against me and more generally against the institution of the President of the Parliament,” the house speaker added.
Syllouris said he would sit out any House proceedings starting October 19 and abstain from duties altogether until the probe findings are delivered.
“After they are concluded, my mind is made up and I will announce it regardless of the outcome,” the house speaker said.
The President's Cabinet announced unexpectedly on Tuesday that the current Citizenship by Investment Programme would be abolished, following an emergency meeting a day after Al Jazeera published a secret video alleging corruption in the island’s golden passport scheme.