The Cabinet on Wednesday gave the green light for the initiation of the process for the revocation of Cypriot citizenship granted to seven persons through the Investment Program.
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In statements after the Cabinet meeting, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushios said “after studying the conclusions of the three-member committee chaired by Ms. Kalogirou, and in line with the suggestion of the Interior Minister, the Cabinet decided to initiate the process of revocation of the citizenship of seven people.”
These individuals, he said, "were approved and granted citizenship while concealing substantial facts or making false representations when submitting their application,” Koushios said.
He added that the Cabinet also decided to forward the report to the chief of police, who "will conduct an investigation into a total of 12 people in order to determine whether any of them are wanted for a serious criminal offense punishable by more than five years in prison or for another serious criminal offense involving moral depravity or dishonesty either in Europe through Europol or globally through Interpol.”
The Interior Minister, the government spokesman said, “will then inform the Cabinet about the results of chief of police’s investigation, in order to assess the possibility of initiating the revocation process for any of these individuals as well.”
The Interior Minister will also be sending the report’s conclusions to the Hellenic Capital Market Commission and the tax commissioner for further investigation into any issues that fall under their services.
Focus shifted once again to the Cyprus ‘golden passports’ scheme in late August after back-to-back reports by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit took a hit at how the scheme led to the island selling Cypriot, and by extension European, citizenship to criminals, fugitives, and people considered to be at high risk of corruption, such as politically-exposed persons (PEPs).
The reports, based on over one thousand classified documents relating to the scheme, which Al Jazeera dubbed The Cyprus Papers, and which consisted of almost 1,500 passport applications containing over 2,400 names, “showed Cyprus failed to conduct due diligence on dozens of cases, allowing criminals and people under international sanctions to buy citizenship for the EU-member state,” Al Jazeera reported.
In response, Cyprus defended its investment program, with the Interior Minister characterising the reports as "propaganda against Cyprus."
Despite standing its ground, the government agreed to appoint a new independent investigative committee to look into all passports granted through the Cyprus Investment Program from 2008 until July this year, when stricter rules were implemented.