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14 June, 2024
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Yiolitis clarifies role in passport applications

Cypriot justice minister says she will sit out passport approvals handled by her former law firm


Cypriot Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis has issued a statement on Twitter concerning her involvement in “golden passports” applications during the time when she was a founding partner at a law firm.

Yiolitis, who was a leading corporate lawyer in Cyprus before becoming justice minister, took to Twitter on Monday to clarify her role in a number of applications, both approved and pending, in the country’s citizenship by investment programme.

“The law firm that I founded had submitted and got approved four applications through the citizenship by investment programme,” Yiolitis wrote on Twitter, adding that “those do not fall in a group of cases that were later identified as necessitating further scrutiny.”

'I won’t take part in any approval decision of these applications,' Yiolitis wrote, clarifying she had no connections, shares, or interests with the law firm

The justice minister said she was still a partner when six other applications were handled and submitted by her firm, adding that these cases were still pending.

“I won’t take part in any approval decision of these applications,” the member of the President’s Cabinet wrote, while also clarifying that she had no connections, shares, or interests with the law firm.

Harneys, a global offshore law firm, issued a statement in the summer bidding farewell to Yiolitis as she was taking on the Justice Ministry.

“Emily is well respected and admired throughout the firm. Her new appointment reflects her qualities and abilities as assessed by the President of Cyprus himself. I would like to thank Emily for her years of commitment and wish her every success in her future contributions to the people of Cyprus,” Harneys Chairman Peter Tarn said in late June.

The justice minister was part of Harney’s corporate and fiduciary services when the branch launched in Cyprus back in 2017.

Past conflict of interest

In 2019, Yiolitis resigned from the chairmanship of the Board of Directors at Cyprus Electricity Authority after a conflict of interest issue had emerged, which she had initially contested.

Reports said Yiolitis’ law firm represented casino operator Melco, which was negotiating a power plant construction with EAC in order to provide electricity for a new facility in Limassol.

Yiolitis, who also served on the board of Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, had made the decision as EAC’s president of the board to donate her executive monthly income to Hope for Children, a policy centre where she was a member of the Senior Advisory Board.

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