Cyprus Papers Update
After the revelations of The Cyprus Papers Undercover, Cypriot reaction was swift.
The Cyprus Investment Program was closed as of November 1st. The government made all the right noises about launching law enforcement investigations.
The lawyer who had boasted of his track record in changing names and obtaining passports, reported that days after the “fake agents “ had left the island, he had submitted a suspicious activity report to the authorities. He claimed that he had quickly surmised that criminal activity was afoot, and that all his subsequent actions, were him phishing for more information.
The developer/politician chimed in with “What he said!” But resigned anyway. The President of the House of Representatives, started with “What he said, he said,” before moving on to “I didn’t actually provide any services, you know.” Presumably, this line was delivered winking, wine glass in hand. He then thought he might abstain from duties for the duration of the investigation. To their credit, Cypriots were having none of it. Street demonstrations, demanding his resignation swiftly achieved their aim, and he resigned.
The EU has announced that it will take action against Cyprus.
I have yet to meet a Cypriot resident expressing any surprise at the whole sorry tale. Not even the tiniest bit. Some have pointed out to me that the President of the Republic’s family law firm, has represented many recipients of the so-called “golden passports.” An opposition politician expressed doubt last week that the scheme was actually gone, talking of a powerful lobby that supported the scheme.
From a practical point of view, there’s lots of building work going on, some of which may be for luxury properties that are now surplus to requirements. How will Cyprus move forward from this?
Part of me wonders whether Aljazeera.com might have a third instalment of the Cyprus papers on the way.