Cypriots Furious Over Allegations of Corruption



Anti-corruption demonstration in Cyprus. Credit: AS Gregoriades/Twitter

Hundreds of people gathered in Nicosia on Wednesday to protest the alleged widespread corruption among politicians and lawyers surrounding the Golden Visa program.

Politicians, including the president of the Cyprus Assembly, are under pressure to resign following the Al Jazeera report which exposed a corruption scheme in Cyprus, in which members of Parliament, along with lawyers and real estate developers, conspired to sell Golden Visas to convicted criminals.

Cyprus’ Golden Visa program allows investors who spend over 2 million euros (over $2.3 million) on property investments in the country to gain citizenship, and those who spend 300,000 euros (about $352,678) to gain permanent residence.

This makes the Cypriot Golden Visa Program one of the fastest and easiest ways to gain citizenship or permanent residency in the European Union.

Many have raised concerns over the program in the past, claiming it allowed people from Russia, China, and Ukraine with disreputable intentions to easily hide their fortunes and avoid taxes.

In Al Jazeera’s video, Cypriot politicians and real estate developers seem to offer Cypriot passports to criminals and fugitives for large sums of money.

The shocking report caused turmoil in the country, and the Golden Visa program was suspended. Many Cypriots have been protesting what they claim to be long-standing corruption in the country since the release of the undercover video.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered for the second day of anti-corruption demonstrations in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.

They demand the resignation of Demetris Syllouris, President of the house, who was  captured engaging in shady business in the video.

Christakis Giovanis, who is both a member of the far-left party and a real estate developer, stepped down from parliament after his participation in corruption was exposed by the bombshell footage.

Both Giovanis and Syllouris deny any wrongdoing.