The Cypriot authorities intend to deprive citizenship of 26 individuals who received “golden passports” through the Citizen by Investment Program. This was announced on Wednesday by Interior Minister Konstantinos Petridis after the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Minister did not disclose the nationality and identity of the persons in question.
According to Bloomberg, Cypriot citizenship will be deprived of nine Russians, eight Cambodians, five Chinese, two Kenyans, one Iranian and one Malaysian.
Mr. Petridis made this statement in continuation of the topic raised in October, when the Cabinet of Ministers promised to check the existing procedure of granting citizenship in exchange for investment and to deprive citizenship of those who were granted it illegally.
Golden passport investment program was introduced in Cyprus in 2014, when the island’s economy was in deep recession. By the end of 2018 thanks to this program, € 6 billion was invested in Cypriot economy, in exchange for granting Cypriot citizenship to four thousand foreign investors.
The immediate reason to access whether the requirements of the Cyprus Investment Program are complied with was the scandal surrounding the issuance of a Cypriot passport to Malaysian businessman Jho Low, who was put on the international wanted list in connection with the theft of billions of dollars from the 1MDB state investment fund. In addition, in October it became known that in 2016-2017, a number of relatives and close associates of the Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen became Cypriot citizens.
In January 2019, the European Commission expressed its concern regarding issuance by Malta and Cyprus of the so-called gold passports to third country nationals.