Four individuals have been charged with conspiracy for their role in granting golden passports to foreign investors and will appear before a criminal court in September.
The four face five charges related to conspiracy offenses to defraud the Republic, influencing a public official in violation of the law ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on the Criminalisation of Corruption.
In October 2020, high-ranking political figures were secretly video recorded by an Al Jazeera undercover reporter posing as a possible client. When the much-publicized documentary, ‘The Cyprus Papers Undercover’, aired on Al Jazeera, it revealed significant evidence of government corruption related to the Citizenship by Investment Scheme (a.k.a. Golden Passport Scheme.)
The expose caused shockwaves in Cyprus and around the world and led to the resignations of the then House of Representatives President, Demetris Syllouris, and Cyprus MP, Christakis Giovani.
‘The Cyprus Papers Undercover’ went on to win Al Jazerra a bronze at the New York TV & Film Awards, while Al Jazeera English’s coverage of international issues and universal themes earned the network the prestigious title of Broadcaster of the Year.
Andreas Pittadjis, a Famagusta lawyer who featured in the Al Jazeera golden passport video, was fined €4,000 by the Cyprus Bar Association for demeaning the profession.
Corruption in Cyprus hit the headlines again earlier this week when a Eurobarometer survey revealed that 94 per cent of the 505 Cypriots who were surveyed believed that corruption is widespread in Cyprus, with political parties and the health care system seen as particularly vulnerable to abusing their power.
In the Eurobarometer survey, Cyprus came in equal second place with Croatia behind Greece where 98 per cent of those surveyed believed corruption is widespread.