NewsLocal“Cash-for-passports” scandal case adjourned till January 30, but prosecution's intentions are clear

“Cash-for-passports” scandal case adjourned till January 30, but prosecution’s intentions are clear

Nicosia Assize Court on Wednesday adjourned till January 30 the trial of four defendants, including the Cyprus parliament’s former president and an Opposition ex-MP, over a “cash-for-passports” scandal exposed by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

The reason for the adjournment was the fact that key players in the trial – both from the Court’s and prosecution’s side – could not attend.

However, in the relatively short procedure that took place the intentions on the Republic’s part could easily be detected, according to Philenews.

It was indicative that the Prosecution’s representative, although he did not comment on the merits, made certain that the rejection of the request of the main defendant’s defense counsel is rejected.

The latter had raised an objection at the previous hearing, alleging abuse of the procedure.

And he argued that this consisted of the first three counts (1, 2 and 3) facing his client – that is, former House president Demetris Syllouris.

He had said, in particular, that there was involvement of the state at the level of the Council of Ministers with the participation of both Attorney General George Savvides and Assistant Attorney General Savvas Angelides, in drafting the facts for which Syllouris is accused.

Triantaphyllides had also said that Savvides and Angelides, as members of the Cabinet, approved the naturalisation applications of the persons linked to the three accusations.

The “golden passports” scandal was exposed in a video released in October 2020.

In the documentary, all four men told an undercover reporter posing as the representative of a fictitious Chinese criminal that they were willing to help him obtain a Cypriot passport and become a citizen of the European Union – for a price.

They said they would help him acquire a passport through the now-banned Cyprus Investment Programme. Under the controversial scheme, passports could be issued for a minimum 2.15 million euros investment.

However, convicted criminals were officially barred from applying, which would have disqualified the fictitious Chinese client.

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