NEWS

Immigration chief in stripper racket

NICOSIA (AFP) – The former Cyprus immigration chief was jailed for 20 months yesterday after being found guilty by a Nicosia District Court of accepting bribes of $700-3,000 to issue work permits for foreigners. Christodoulos Nicolaides, 58, was found guilty on nine of 14 corruption charges which mainly involved the illegal issue of pink slips for foreign strippers to work on the island’s lucrative cabaret club circuit. He was suspended from public office when arrested two years ago. Nicolaides’s arrest came at a time when the government was clamping down on the illegal employment of foreign workers and restricting the number of foreign women who worked in pubs and clubs over fears they were being forced into prostitution rackets. The new minister fears that these projects will run into many legal problems, especially due to nearby residents going to court to stop them, which could lead to unpredictable delays. She is also concerned about the viability of some of the construction projects as well as conflicting jurisdiction between ministries.