His transfer from the Ministry of Interior is not related to the issue of naturalizations, testified the former General Director of the Ministry of Interior, Andreas Assiotis, before the Investigative Committee of Exceptional Naturalizations of Foreign Investors and Entrepreneurs .
Answering questions from the Chairman and Members of the Research Committee on Thursday, Mr. Assiotis referred to his relationship with Socrates Hasikos during his tenure at the Ministry of Interior, to the procedures followed at the Ministry when submitting applications for exceptional naturalization at within the framework of the Cyprus Investment Program (KEP), as well as the control responsibility for the implementation of the terms and criteria after approval.
He did not have any pressure from law firms, said Mr. Assiotis, while when asked if he had intervened or pressured in order to speed up the examination of an application, he stated that he did not become a player of pressure or advice to speed up something for someone's benefit. elsewhere. For some requests, if there was information that it was a sensitive case, it informed the Minister that it had to be treated urgently, he added.
Mr. Assiotis, who was appointed in 2012 permanent Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until November 2013, who moved to the Ministry of Labor, when asked if he had a good relationship with former Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, replied “I had a relationship”.
Asked if his move to the Ministry of Labor was related to the investment program, he said he did not think it was related.
“My relationship as Director General with Foreign Minister Socrates Hasikos was not what I considered to be the proper relationship between the DG and the Minister,” he said, adding that he moved without being informed and without seeking it himself.
I looked for the floor, Mr. Assiotis continued, but he said that the letter of the Council of Ministers had a formal wording, as usual and referred to service needs. “I looked for an explanation, to date I have not found it,” he noted.
Mr. Assiotis also said that Socrates Hasikos in a report to him, spoke of a “flood of requests” and pressure that the Ministry was receiving at that time.
He (Socrates Hasikos) had told me that the state, the Government was receiving an extremely high pressure from many and various who wanted to reduce the criteria, to attract others, to increase the applications, continued Mr. Assiotis.
Answering a question whether he considers that mistakes or omissions were made during the implementation of the KEP, Mr. Assiotis stated that in his day there was only one official who handled the number of applications.
“The staffing had to be differentiated” and the Ministry had to create a team of officials, who will be specialized, so that we are fair to the subject and the officials are not disadvantaged towards the providers, the applicants, the industry, he said.
Asked about the role of Maria Adamidou in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Assiotis said that he was seconded from Parliament to the office of Socrates Hasikos, one or two months after taking office and was placed in the office of Mr. Hasikos.
As General Manager, I did not have constant contact with officials from the Minister's office, he said, noting that the officials received instructions from the Minister. Asked if the official was related to naturalization issues, Mr. Assiotis replied that he did not know.
Asked who was responsible for monitoring and checking whether the provisions of an exceptional naturalization decision are being implemented, such as the satisfaction of an economic criterion, Mr. Assiotis said that during his tenure at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there were no services that monitored the implementation of financial conditions. . He added that it is the responsibility of YPOIK to check whether a financial condition has been met, which it is responsible for, he added.
To another question, whether applications for naturalization went directly to the Minister, Mr. Assiotis answered “I can not know”. Asked if he had identified applications that did not go through him, he said “no”, but said that if an application was approved by the Council of Ministers, he would come to him to oversee the implementation of the conditions.
Mr. Assiotis was asked why naturalizations were promoted and approved, while documents show that there were objections at the Ministry level. He stated that the proposals for naturalizations are submitted by Ministers and not by Ministries. The minister may have ruled that the official's objection was not significant, he said.
Asked what he would do if he found that no criteria were met, he said he would take a position when he saw fit and write it down in handwriting. “Parasimeiona” he said, saying that it is not like a General Manager to write a lot.
During the hearing, the Chairman of the Research Committee, Myronas Nikolatos, showed Mr. Assiotis two forms that had been submitted as evidence, asking him to acknowledge whether it was his own handwriting or signature. He replied that it was not his own writing, while he said that the dates listed in the publications – 2007 and 2010 – refer to a period before he took over the specific responsibilities in the Ministry of Interior.
Philenews / ΚΥΠΕ