Perhaps the most important news that emerged from yesterday's deposition of the President of the Republic to the members of the Commission of Inquiry into naturalizations was the information given by the members of the committee Pavlos Ioannou and Dimitra Kalogirou that from 2015 and 2016 there were two written letters / opinions of the Prosecutor's Office to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the conflict of the Cyprus Investment Program with the law of the European Union, but were not taken into account by the government.
As a result, the program was allowed to issue Cypriot / European passports at an bargain price with irregular or minimally controversial procedures, without requiring, inter alia, a real naturalized connection with the country, as required by the EU, and forcing the European Commission to initiate infringement proceedings against the Republic of Cyprus with a long delay in the autumn of 2020.
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In particular, Mr. Ioannou asked the President whether they requested and received the position of the Prosecutor's Office for the various amendments to the investment program and Mr. Anastasiadis reportedly replied that it was not deemed necessary to ask the Attorney General. When Mr. Ioannou insisted that there was a letter (opinion) from the Legal Service to the Ministry of Interior, in 2015, which states, among other things, that the KEP, as it was applied, was in conflict with European law, Mr. Anastasiadis replied that he did not have such a letter in mind. Ms. Kalogirou intervened, pointing out that there were two letters with similar content, one in 2015 and one in 2016.
It was reported by the members of the investigation that the document (ie the opinion of the prosecutor's office for the KEP, in 2015) is considered confidential due to the EU infringement procedure against Cyprus.
The information of “F” states that this opinion is probably the same that the Auditor General had spoken at a recent meeting of the Audit Committee in Parliament. As Mr. Michaelides had said at the time, the report stated that the issuance of passports to relatives of the investor was not covered by the law (something that the government also ignored and issued about 3,000 passports to relatives) and added that the report mentioned other interests. issues, which could not be mentioned. Yesterday's intervention of Pavlos Ioannou in the research shows that the additional references in the opinion concerned the substance of the KEP, which the competent service in the Legal Service now proves to have considered incompatible with EU law since 2015, without being taken into account by the government , who continued to sell passports without fear. And from the intervention of Mrs. Kalogirou it appears that there was, in 2016, a new opinion on the problematic KEP from the Legal Service (which we are informed that refused to write a letter to the EU, as the government wanted and requested … ), which was also not taken into account. When the new Attorney General recently gave an opinion, at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a way that allowed the government not to hand over the naturalization files to the Audit Office, the president and his ministers insisted that they did not mean not to discipline the prosecutor. .
The reactions of the EU
Mr. Anastasiadis also claimed yesterday that there were no serious objections / interventions from the EU before Al Jazeera reports. However, the information of “F” states that at least since 2015 the EU had initiated a process through the EU PILOT (structured dialogue with states) to understand the dimensions taken by the KEP and to judge whether it should have intervened more vigorously, through an infringement procedure. Our information states that of course the government was aware of the EU PILOT process (since the EU institutions are negotiating with the state) and it was because of the one that there was communication with the Legal Service and the two opinions were sent, in 2015 and 2016.
Also, through the note of the competent administrative officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Christina Kaoulla, to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs K. Petridis, in May / June 2017, about which “F” wrote on Friday, it is specifically mentioned that the EU has a problem with The KEP, reacts, asks for explanations through EU PILOT and in fact Ms. Kaoulla warned that there may be a dynamic reaction of the Commission for the mandatory abolition of the program.
They wanted … flexibility
Revealing the government's intentions regarding the utilization of the KEP was the answer given by Mr. Anastasiadis when asked by P. Ioannou why regulations for the naturalization program were not promoted early, but were submitted in 2020 and voted in July of the same year. (s.s. after the Parliament first passed a law to oblige the government to submit regulations by January 2020!). According to what philenews broadcast (which is also confirmed by the live of other websites) the President answered the following surprisingly: “The regulations were not included (they were not adopted) because the Council of Ministers had the power to determine the conditions and the criteria. Charilaos Stavrakis also said in his testimony that he saw everyone to attract investors. When your country is in crisis, you will do anything. That way everything was more flexible! That is, the government did not want regulations, so as not to be bound by them when issuing thousands of passports, as it preferred to maintain … flexibility of movement.
The passports for the marina and the participation of G. Misirlis
One of the interests heard yesterday in the Research Committee is the relationship of Giannis Misirlis, wife of one of the daughters of the President of the Republic, with the marina of Ayia Napa. In the context of clarifying questions to the President about the involvement of his office or his relatives with the KEP, he was asked if there are companies in which a close relative is a shareholder or director and which were involved with naturalizations in order to benefit from the KEP. Mr. Anastasiadis answered categorically “of course not”. Dimitra Kalogirou returned: “To put it another way. Did your other groom work with other law firms to apply for naturalization and benefit? The President replied that the construction company of Giannis Misirlis (Imperio) operated 5 or 10 years before he became his son-in-law. “It simply came to our notice then. “What's wrong?” He said. However, Kyriakos Kyriakou (Assistant Auditor General) intervened and said: “Let me give you an example. The company for the marina Ag. Go. Some individuals have been naturalized, shareholders or directors. Your groom is a member of the marina board. Do you know that? The President replied: “I did not know. The marina is an investment of millions. Some of the executives met the criteria. For the marina of Ayia Napa, what does it matter if Giannis Misirlis is on the Board? The question is whether there was any deviation in the naturalizations “.
It is not known how many passports were issued to foreign executives of the company that manages the specific marina and by what procedures. However, the website of the Registrar of Companies confirms (yesterday's research) that Giannis Misirlis is a director / member of the board. the company's. Looking for more information on the website of Mr. Misirlis's company (Imperio) and in his CV published there, we did not find any report on his participation in the board. of the company Makronisos Marina Ayia Napa, which participation does not seem to imply its participation in the share capital of the investment, which was announced in 2015 (after the meeting of the Egyptian investor Sauaris with the President of the Republic) and is estimated to amount to 220 million . euro.