The trial related to the naturalization of two foreign investors and the potential naturalization of an alleged Chinese businessman has been scheduled for June 10 at the Nicosia Criminal Court. A total of 32 persons are expected to testify during the trial.
During the proceedings of January 18, the third defendant, Antonis Antoniou, stated that he does not accept the charges connected to the Golden Passport scheme. The next hearing is scheduled for February 15. Former House President Demetris Syllouris and former Akel MP Christakis Giovanis pleaded not guilty to five charges at Nicosia criminal court during the trial related to the findings of the Al Jazeera documentary.
Antoniou, who was abroad during the last hearing on December 29, is set to make his plea before the court on January 18 at 9.30 am. He is being represented by lawyer Andreas Pittadjis, who was initially on trial with the other three defendants but had all charges against him dropped in October last year.
Cyprus’ Golden Passport scheme allowed wealthy foreign nationals to acquire citizenship by investing at least €2 million in the country. However, the scheme was terminated in 2020 following an investigation by Al Jazeera that revealed irregular affairs.
More than 7,000 golden passports were granted through the scheme from 2007 until 2020. In November, authorities in Cyprus agreed to implement stricter controls on its Golden Visa Program, which allows foreigners to acquire residency through financial investment.
In December, Cyprus introduced its Golden Knowledge Programme as part of efforts to attract more tech talent to the country. The amendment to the Civil Registry Law eased the rules for granting Cypriot citizenship to foreigners as part of this initiative.
Still have some travel questions? Ask in our Travel WhatsApp Group.