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Stavrakis: The naturalizations brought a foreign bank to Cyprus

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Stavrakis: The naturalizations brought a foreign bank to Cyprus

Former Minister of Finance Charilaos Stavrakis presented his own experience regarding the Cypriot investment program before the Investigative Committee for the Exceptional Naturalization of Foreign Investors and Entrepreneurs. It is recalled that Michalis Sarris had testified before Charilaos Stavrakis.

Charilaos Stavrakis, who served as Minister of Finance from February 2008 to July 2011, stated in his own statement regarding the meetings of the Council of Ministers, that “The naturalizations were not up to date at that time, in the five years about 140 passports were issued. so proportionally in my three years it must have been about 100 “.

Regarding the process, he said that the naturalizations were the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior but the Ministry of Finance had an important role which gave its positive suggestion for its financial criteria.

Asked if there was a code of conduct to avoid conflicts of interest, he said he did not remember such a thing, adding that there were no complaints about staff shortages, as passports were scarce at the time.

He added that he had seen many investors “because they bring the investments” as well as lawyers, accountants and others. Regarding whether there were interventions, he spoke about a specific case. “I remember a case that was rejected, with a large client of a large accounting office in Cyprus, they took me and told me that he is a big client, we saw them again with the clerks, the clerks were convinced but then I do not know if it was approved because I then left. It was the only case of intervention by the private sector, “he said.

For changes in the naturalization criteria, he mentioned the changes in January to allow the investor's minor children to be naturalized as well. However, there was a discussion in the Ministry on the issue, as stressed by Commissioner Pavlos Ioannou, who asked Mr. Stavrakis if there was a reason that a bill was not prepared to be submitted to Parliament, so that the regulations are legislated and it is easier for officials . The former YPOIK replied “It was negligence or from acquired speed no one predicted it, I can not give another explanation”.

Regarding whether changes were needed in the KEP, he said that the applications were few and there was no demand from the EU or pressure. He also spoke about contacts he had with a large accounting office. Mr. Stavrakis noted and gave to the committee the name of the Audit Office, which was then sent to Mr. Stavrakis for this case.

Regarding whether there were errors or omissions in the operation of the program “Surely there would have been gaps or omissions, but during my time as Minister and the previous ones the number of naturalizations was small. The foreign press was not negative, we never had a problem with the European Commission. Also, in most cases the naturalizations were made for people who had already been in Cyprus for at least three years and had a residence permit, ie they were people who came to Cyprus, bought an apartment, obtained a residence permit and did work and later wanted to obtain a passport. I am proud that the well-known large bank owned by foreigners in Cyprus was made in this way, they stayed here for three years and their application went ahead. This was the rule although there were some exceptions. “I understand that after the economic crisis there was pressure on governments to speed up the process.”

Last Tuesday (19/01/2020) the former Minister of Finance, Haris Georgiadis, testified before the Commission.

It is recalled that the work of the committee has started since November and before it the current Ministers Nikos Nouris and Konstantinos Petridis, the Auditor General Odysseas Michailidis, Christina Kaoulou, the former Minister Ch. , Neoklis Silikiotis, the Secretary of the Minister Theodosis Tsiolas, also the Secretary Georgios Georgiou and Andreas Moleskis, Former Secretary of the Council of Ministers.

The Chairman of the Committee is Myron Nikolatos, former President of the Supreme Court and the members are Dimitra Kalogirou, Chairman of the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, Kyriakos Kyriakou, Assistant Auditor General and Pavlos Ioannou, Financial Commissioner.

Philenews / Insider

Source: www.philenews.com

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