Significant human rights issues in Cyprus included serious acts of corruption, according to the US State Department 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices that was released on Tuesday.
“Significant human rights issues included: serious acts of corruption; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of national and ethnic minorities; and lack of investigation of and accountability for violence against women,” it said.
The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented the laws effectively, it also said.
Although the government generally investigated and prosecuted cases of corruption, there were numerous reports of government corruption during the year, it added.
Specifically: “On October 12, Al Jazeera aired an expose, The Cyprus Papers—Undercover, in which undercover reporters captured extensive evidence of government corruption related to the Citizenship by Investment scheme (CBI).
“In the video the president of the House of Representatives, Demetris Syllouris, House of Representatives member Christakis Giovani, and CBI facilitators indicated their willingness to assist a fictitious Chinese CBI applicant whom they were told had been convicted of money laundering and corruption.
“On October 13, the government announced it was terminating the CBI program, effective November 1, and Attorney General George Savvides ordered an investigation into any possible criminal offenses arising from the Al Jazeera report.
“Syllouris and Giovani resigned from the House of Representatives. On March 11, the former mayor of Larnaca, Andreas Louroudjiatis, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for corruption, bribery, money laundering, and other related charges in connection to waste management plants operated by the municipalities of Larnaca and Paphos.
“The financial director of the Municipality of Paphos was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and two engineers of the town planning department were sentenced to 42-month and 18-month prison terms in relation to the incident. The company involved, Helector Cyprus Ltd, was fined 183,000 euros.”