Cyprus: Syllouris announces he will abstain from duties following Al Jazeera video

Cyprus: Syllouris announces he will abstain from duties following Al Jazeera video

Starting Monday, October 19, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Syllouris will be abstaining from his duties, in the light of the publication of a video by the Al-Jazeera news network regarding the management of “golden” passports, in which the Speaker of Parliament was also spotted.

Demetris Syllouris issued the following statement, announcing his decision:

“First of all, I would like to apologize publicly for the unpleasant image shared with the Cypriot people – and not only – and the upset that it has caused.

I apologize for allowing some people, even through the publication of this directed and fragmentary shot, to hurt me and consequently the institution of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

At the same time, I would like to announce that, starting next Monday, October 19, 2020, I will be abstaining from my duties until the investigations are completed. I have made my decisions for what will follow afterwards and, regardless of the result, I will announce them.

I also call on all the competent authorities to speed up any procedures that have been launched, and I remain available to the Authorities to facilitate them in any way regarding the investigations”.

The Democratic Party and the Citizens’ Alliance had called for the resignation of Parliament Speaker Demetris Syllouris, in the aftermath of the Al Jazeera video.

Meanwhile, AKEL’s political bureau is meeting in the afternoon with the Al Jazeera report on the golden passports as the only topic on the agenda.

EDEK called for a thorough investigation in order for the content of the video from the Al Jazeera report to be confirmed and, in the event that any responsibilities of those involved arise, then they should be held accountable at personal and state level. The Democratic Party notes in a statement that no one is above the law.

The Co-operation of Democratic Forces expressed its belief that the Speaker of Parliament and the AKEL MP should immediately submit their resignations for reasons of morality, ethics, political correctness and for the restoration of the already collapsed institutions.

In the 57-minute long scandalous video, the Speaker of Parliament Demetris Syllouris, AKEL MP Christakis Tziovanis and two other employees of the Giovani Group, as well as well-known lawyer Andreas Pittatzis appear to be discussing unknowingly with “investor representatives” who were actually journalists with hidden cameras.

“Our undercover journalists went to Cyprus to represent an imaginary client who left China and was sentenced to seven years in prison for bribery and money laundering”, Al Jazeera reported. In a specific excerpt, the video shows the Speaker of Parliament saying “Do not tell this to anyone” while another one adds “I have to protect my name”, with the undercover reporters explaining that “we are going undercover to reveal how a criminal can obtain a European passport”.

The whole scene unfolded at Giovannis’ residence in the province of Famagusta, where the Speaker of Parliament was invited and attended a dinner with the “mediators” of the investor.

With this video, Al Jazeera drags Cyprus through the mud, targeting high-ranking Cypriot officials, politicians, lawyers and developers involved in a system that allows criminals to buy a European passport using Cypriot citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Program. /ibna