News/Syria: Syrian Arrested In Cyprus' Work Permits Probe

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Subject: News/Syria: Syrian Arrested In Cyprus' Work Permits Probe
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Oct 27 1999 - 09:00:01 EDT


Syrian Arrested In Cyprus' Work Permits Probe
Xinhua General News Service

Nicosia, October 20-- A Syrian man with Cypriot citizenship under a Greek
Cypriot name was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the work permits
scandal at Cyprus' immigration department. The Cyprus Mail newspaper
reported on Wednesday that 37-year-old Mahmoud Al Masri was arrested
Tuesday afternoon as part of the investigation into the alleged selling of
work and residency visas by officials. Cyprus police last week launched an
emergency probe into allegations that police officers are involved in
flesh-trading and are paid to supply fake residence permits for foreign
women in Cyprus. Cyprus has acquired a bad reputation for importing female
cabaret dancers who are then allegedly forced to work as prostitutes.
Cyprus' immigration chief Christodoulos Nicolaides was arrested last friday
on suspicion of accepting bribes to "fix" permits for foreigners, including
cabaret dancers. According to police, Masri has been living under the name
Socratis Kosiaris for the past three years and operates an aluminum
workshop. Police said he took money from foreigners, mostly Syrians, to
secure visas and citizenship and in exchange did the decoration works of
the houses of nicolaides and his relatives free of charge.

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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