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15 April, 2021
 
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Police focus on Larnaca in passport probe

Notorious name change in passport scandal leads police with search warrants to southern town

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Police in Larnaca carried out searches on Tuesday in connection with an ongoing criminal probe into golden passports, with reports saying investigators were focusing on at least five persons of interest but were not calling them suspects.

According to local media, police turned their attention this week to Larnaca, with a district judge singing off on search warrants for a local law firm and the business of a property developer, as well as private residences. At least one home search was put off due to coronavirus concerns, other reports said.

Police declined to comment on the latest developments in the southern town, telling Knews that any searches, pending or otherwise, were ongoing throughout the investigation while clarifying there were no suspects or arrest warrants as of Wednesday morning.

But local media cited sources saying arrests could not be ruled out, while Politis online reported that arrest warrants had been requested earlier this week and rejected by a local judge.

It was understood that an Al Jazeera video alluded to one of the cases when another lawyer was caught on video talking about the legal process of changing names in Cyprus

Additional reports said persons of interest included lawyers, including the head of a law firm and associates, and three foreign nationals who obtained Cypriot passports, two of whom were described as investors while the other was a relative.

It was understood that an Al Jazeera video alluded to one of the cases when another lawyer was caught on video talking about the name change process in the Republic of Cyprus. It was not immediately clear whether the lawyer in the video was linked to the current search warrants.

Media pundits said the searches took place based on findings from a probe last year by Demetra Kalogerou, chairwoman for Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, who was recently appointed to a second independent investigation on alleged corruption in golden passports.

Kalogerou had led a small investigation into a number of cases handpicked by the interior ministry following initial allegations by Al Jazeera into corruption within the foreign investor programme. The chairwoman had concluded that seven persons ought to be recommended for passport revocation while twelve others should be further scrutinized.

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Cyprus  |  Larnaca  |  golden passport  |  Al Jazeera  |  corruption  |  foreign  |  investor  |  law firm  |  business group  |  developer

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