The Cypriot authorities begin the procedure for deprivation of nationality 26 people, including nine Russians, said on Wednesday the Agency Bloomberg.
In addition, Cypriot passport can lose eight Cambodians, five Chinese, two Kenyan, one Iranian and one Malaysian. All of them received the Cyprus citizenship through investment program in the economy (the so-called Golden passport).
Of these 26 people, nine are investors, and the remaining members of their families.
Among those who plan to revoke the nationality under investigation, the Chinese-Malaysian financier Joe Lowe. According to the media, assistance in obtaining citizenship was assisted by the Archbishop of Cyprus.
Lowe, according to the investigation, is one of the main organizers of the scandalous theft of funds intended for assistance to Malaysian citizens Fund 1MDB. The investigation claims that 4.5 billion dollars stolen from the Fund was spent on purchase of paintings by Monet and van Gogh, luxury real estate, yachts and aircraft, as well as the financing of the film “the Wolf of wall Street”, reports “Interfax”.
The Cypriot authorities also plan to check carefully the owners of the other thousands of passports obtained in the framework of the investment program, operating since 2013. But the country’s President Nikos Anastasiades has promised to revoke the citizenship of those who got it illegally, RIA “Novosti”. November 4, he said about 10-15 “egregious” cases of incorrect issuing of passports. We are talking about people suspected of money laundering or associated with “authoritarian governments”.
In early October, the Cyprus Parliament introduced a bill providing for the publication of the names of those who bought citizenship, says Meduza.
Cyprus passport is especially popular among wealthy Russians. The latest Eurostat data about foreigners to obtain citizenship of Cyprus date back to 2017, then the passport of the island nation received 5,5 thousand foreigners, of which 1.3 thousand Russians.
From 2019, the volume of investments in the economy of Cyprus for obtaining a passport has increased from two million euros to 2.5 million euros. In addition, citizenship will not allow those who had previously denied other EU countries.
Last year the European Commission conducted an investigation and demanded that Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria to improve the procedure and to exclude the possibility in case of failure in one state to obtain citizenship in the other. Under pressure from the EC, the government of Cyprus has attracted a truly effective international and American detective Agency, who have full access to all databases on individuals, the origin and source of their capital. “From now on, if a person denied citizenship in Cyprus, it automatically falls into the black list and will not be able to obtain citizenship in the EU”, – said RBC partner Paragon Advice Group Alexander Zakharov.
While Cyprus does not publish official lists of who is granted citizenship by investment, but leaks happen. “It is not excluded that the Russian businessmen will come under close attention of the inspectors”, he added.
Cyprus passport, in particular, is the co-owner of Rusal Oleg Deripaska and the former co-owner of Promsvyazbank, Dmitry Ananyev.