The number of naturalization cases of foreign investors and businessmen has doubled, for which the Research Committee suggests removing the Cypriot citizenship granted to them. At the same time, the criminal, disciplinary and administrative responsibilities that will arise from the finding increase.
The above was stated to “F” by the chairman of the Investigative Committee, Myronas Nikolatos, who added that in the final conclusion that is expected to be presented next Monday before the Attorney General, naturalizations through the Cypriot investment program, which were illegal, increase by 53 %, while the corresponding percentage in the interim finding amounted to 51.8%. As for the 47% that were within the law, 90% of them were found to comply with the criteria and 10% did not.
The final conclusion will list 650 pages plus the appendices, ie it will be voluminous. On the preliminary finding that was delivered last month, will be added the new data that emerged from testimonies as well as from oral testimonies. A common finding of the Commission that will be recorded in the conclusion is that if the Council of Ministers and the competent Ministries of Interior and Finance requested legal guidance from the Legal Service, the violations of the law would be avoided.
Initially, Mr. Nikolatos told “F” that everything is in the final stretch, the final control of the data is done and on Monday the conclusion will be delivered to the Attorney General. As he said, a thorough and voluminous work was done, while the personal concern was for the Commission to act impartially and objectively as we did. If there is a rule of law, he said, it is based on the position that no intervention is possible. We were left undisturbed in our work under the pressure of time to examine so many elements in nine months, stressed Mr. Nikolatos.
Naturalizations: Painful finding for the Government The intermediate conclusion for naturalizations burns for many The interim conclusion for naturalizations is delivered
Asked to state the final conclusion from the nine months of investigations, the chairman of the Commission said that it was a program with many gaps, there were no necessary safeguards by law, there was no regulatory framework, since only in 2020 all these weaknesses gave some the opportunity to take advantage of it. “The Council of Ministers and the competent Ministries of Interior and Finance should have requested legal guidance from the Legal Service and complied with them. They acted without guidance from here and more than 50% of the cases were made in excess of the law. “They could have asked for this from 2007 onwards”, Mr. Nikolatos remarked. Answering a question whether an answer was given as to why they did not do so, Mr. Nikolatos noted that no clear answer was given on this.
He added that in 2014 and 2015 some legal advice was given that could, if followed, limit violations of the law. He stressed that if all the appropriate measures were taken and the safeguards and regulations from the beginning, if the competent ones were instructed by the Attorney General, the illegalities would certainly be avoided.
The final report will record around 212 high-risk cases that will be sent to the Police for examination (112 are included in the interim report and their investigation has begun) while the final report will record the findings of the Commission and its conclusions.
Meanwhile, the day before yesterday, the ten investigators of the TAE Headquarters took over the task, who were appointed to investigate the cases of the naturalization of foreign investors included in the interim conclusion of the four-member Investigative Committee.
The interim report includes a total of 112 naturalization cases and according to the instructions of the Attorney General, they must be investigated properly and soon, however the investigation is expected to be time consuming, as there is enough material to investigate, as he pointed out.
It is noted that the mandate of the Research Committee was to investigate the exceptional naturalizations of foreign investors and entrepreneurs from 2007 – 17.8.2020.
Illegal naturalizations reached 53% The cases of high risk increased to 212 from 112 that were in the interim result In 44 deposits (there were 22 in the interim result) a suggestion is made for their removal
Criminal and disciplinary for many
The final report will list, except in cases of high risk, the names of law firms, auditing and banking institutions that need to be investigated. According to Mr. Nikolatos, the Commission will make recommendations to the Attorney General for any criminal liability in cases of high-risk naturalization, as well as disciplinary ones that should be examined by professional disciplinary bodies.
For lawyers they will be audited by the lawyers' disciplinary, for auditors by their Association, for banks by the Central Bank and for service providers by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission. The report of the president of the Investigation Department that the MOKAS (Unit for Combating Crimes against Crime) and the Police will be prompted to conduct investigations concerning criminal and disciplinary offenses by their members for improper control of investor cases. The Council of Ministers must also decide to ask the Citizenship Deprivation Committee to remove the granted citizenship in several cases.
Deprivation of citizenship by 44 investors
In the final conclusion of the Commission of Inquiry that will be delivered next Monday, maybe at noon, to the Attorney General, the cases for which a revocation of naturalization is proposed are increasing.
The chairman of the Research Committee, Myronas Nikolatos, said that in the conclusion there will be a suggestion for examination on the basis of article 113 of the Law on Population Archive, the deprivation of gold passports to 44 investors. In the interim report, the corresponding proposal concerned 22 investors.
The increase in the number is attributed to the fact that the research has been extended, in addition to their family members, to managers. According to Mr. Nikolatos, it became clear that “outside the legal framework, some of the directors were also naturalized”.
It is noted that the Attorney General did not accept the request of the members of the Commission to deliver the final conclusion on June 9 instead of 7. The rejection of the request was based on the fact that the mandate to investigate the naturalizations, given to the Investigative, essentially began on the date of issue. mandate, ie on 7 September. Therefore, nine months are completed on June 7, when the deadline expires and the final conclusion must be delivered.