Home Travel & Adventure Cyprus Golden Passport Case: Defendants Set to Face Criminal Court in October

Cyprus Golden Passport Case: Defendants Set to Face Criminal Court in October


Four people accused of helping foreigners to get Cypriot Golden Passports in exchange for bribes in violation of the program, will appear in front of the Criminal Court next month, with the first hearing scheduled for October 11.

The defendants, who are facing criminal charges after the airing of a report by the Al Jazeera network, include former House President Demetris Syllouris, and former Akel MP and developer Christakis Giovani. The other two are senior lawyer for the Giovani Group, Antonis Antoniou, and lawyer Andreas Pittadjis.

At the time being, the first three have been released on a bail of €50,000 each, and the fourth for €30,000.

The illicit actions the four defendants are suspected to have engaged in was unveiled in 2020 by Al Jazeera journalists in an investigation called the Cyprus Papers.

In a documentary, an Al Jazeera reporter had contacted the defendants pretending to be a Chinese criminal and asking them to help him obtain a Golden Passport in exchange for bribes, to which all four had agreed.

The Cyprus Audit Office had then carried out an investigation, finding out that the country had lost millions in revenue to foreigners obtaining Golden Passports without any type of investment in the country.

[Significant loss of public funds] occurred from the illegal use of the reduced VAT rate and the illegal naturalisation of the thousands of people who were given Cypriot citizenship as members of the investors’ families, without these persons making any investment.

Cyprus Audit Office

The findings had caused a scandal in Cyprus and the European Union, prompting the island country to put the Golden Passport scheme to an end. Several Golden passport holders had then been stripped of Cypriot nationality, following “necessary investigation in this regard.

It is estimated that the Cypriot authorities have revoked the Golden passports of over 200 beneficiaries, out of the almost 7,000 that benefited from the program between 2007 and 2020.

Through the Golden Passport scheme, wealthy foreigners were permitted to acquire Cypriot citizenship and passports in exchange for a contribution of at least €2.5 million. Additional criteria also had to be met.

While the program has helped Cyprus’ economy rapidly grow, it has mainly lured Chinese and Russian investors, and has often been used for corruption, tax evasion and money laundering.

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Monte OZ
Monte OZ is a highly accomplished and respected international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger based in Africa. With a passion for storytelling, a sense of adventure, and an eye for all things captivating, Monte has become a prominent figure in the world of travel, entertainment, and lifestyle journalism. Born and raised in Africa, Monte developed a deep appreciation for the continent's diverse cultures, rich heritage, and vibrant entertainment scene. His upbringing fueled his desire to share Africa's untold stories and showcase its dynamic lifestyle to a global audience. Monte's extensive experience and expertise have made him a sought-after authority on all things related to travel, adventure, entertainment, and lifestyle in Africa. As an international freelance journalist, Monte has made significant contributions to various prestigious publications worldwide. His captivating articles, insightful interviews, and engaging features have graced the pages of leading entertainment magazines, lifestyle publications, and reputable news outlets. Monte's unique ability to capture the essence of Africa's entertainment and lifestyle scene has garnered widespread acclaim and recognition. With a love for exploration and a thirst for adrenaline, Monte also thrives as an active adventure reporter. He has embarked on daring expeditions, immersing himself in Africa's wild landscapes, and documenting his adrenaline-pumping experiences. Whether it's conquering treacherous peaks, exploring remote jungles, or engaging in heart-pounding activities, Monte's adventurous spirit and daring escapades inspire readers to embrace their own sense of adventure. In addition to his work in journalism and adventure reporting, Monte is a leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger in Africa. Through his influential blog, he offers readers an insider's view of the continent's vibrant entertainment scene, trendy hotspots, fashion trends, culinary delights, and cultural experiences. Monte's unique blend of storytelling, personal insights, and expert recommendations has made his blog a go-to resource for entertainment and lifestyle enthusiasts seeking the pulse of Africa's dynamic culture. Beyond his professional pursuits, Monte is a passionate advocate for promoting Africa's talent, creativity, and cultural diversity. He actively supports and champions emerging artists, musicians, designers, and entrepreneurs, helping to showcase their work to a broader audience. Monte's dedication to promoting Africa's vibrant entertainment and lifestyle industry has positioned him as a respected influencer and tastemaker within the African and global entertainment communities. With a commitment to excellence, a passion for exploration, and a talent for captivating storytelling, Monte Oz continues to captivate audiences worldwide. As an international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger, his work has left an indelible mark on the world of journalism, travel, and entertainment, solidifying his position as a trusted authority and go-to resource for all things related to African travel, adventure, and lifestyle.