An undercover operation revealed Monday that Cyprus politicians paved the way for criminals to obtain the so-called Golden Passport if they have deep pockets, according to Al Jazeera.
The politicians initially denied the allegations that made headlines worldwide.
Nothing but a Propaganda Against Cyrpus
Nicos Nouris, Cyprus’ Minister of Interior, refused to acknowledge Al Jazeera’s evidence, published in a previous report.
The report is “not investigative journalism” but fake news and “an attack” against Cyprus, Nouris said.
Moreover, the report prompted the Cypriot government to put in place stricter rules for future passport applicants.
Of course, it is the most sensible thing to do when your country is under scrutiny for irregularities.
Proving How Easy it is To get a Cypriot Passport
Cyprus Investment Program states that anyone who can invest, usually via real estate, can acquire a Cypriot passport, per Al Jazeera.
Two reporters from Al Jazeera posed as representatives for a fictional Chinese businessman convicted of bribery and money laundering in a video uploaded by the news site.
The mystery applicant hiding in Hong Kong, Mr. X, under Cyprus’ rules, should have been disqualified right off the bat.
However, the real estate agents, the lawyer that the undercovers, Billy Lee and Angie met in Cyprus were very reassuring.
So long as the client invested more than $2.5m limit, the client would easily avoid regulations.
Andreas Pittadjis, the lawyer, even said that the identity of the applicant can be altered “without any question.”
In fact, the client can change his name by signing a document that can be produced in five minutes, Pittadjis added.
Christakis Giovani, a House of Representatives member, can “make things happen” and often has the solution, synonymous with “miracles,” said Pittadjis.
Now, if Mr. X really does exist, imagine a convicted criminal holding an EU passport within a week of application.
If the (Undercover) Film is Not an Adequate Proof…Then What is?
Christian Wigand, European Commission spokesman, watched “high-level officials” handing out “European citizenship” in exchange for a hefty sum.
Consequently, the European Commission released a statement, dumbfounded after watching the revelation.
“President von der Leyen” clearly said that “European values” are not to be “bought,” Wigand added.
The Al Jazeera video caused “outrage, anger, and concern” among the citizens, Cypriot Attorney-General George Savvidis said in a statement.
Furthermore, the government of Cyprus has announced that it will abolish its controversial citizenship-by-investment program starting 1 November 2020, per Transparency International.
One can only wonder, why not immediately? Is the video not clear enough?