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06 December, 2021
 
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Cyprus cabinet to revoke 45 passports in cash-for-citizenship scheme

Six additional cases to be investigated

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Cyprus said on Friday it would revoke the passports of 45 people who obtained citizenship under a now discredited investment scheme that ran for more than a decade.

Almost 7,000 people obtained citizenship under the cash-for-passports scheme, championed by Cyprus’s right-wing government till concerns about possible corruption highlighted in an expose on the Al Jazeera network forced its cancellation in 2020.

A Cypriot passport grants visa-free travel, working and residency rights throughout the 27-nation European Union. The scheme was popular with Russians and investors from Asia.

Friday’s decision by Cyprus’s Cabinet to revoke the passports of 39 investors and six dependents follows a recommendation by a government-appointed commission in June.

“Cabinet further decided to investigate six additional cases, and scrutinise another 47 cases on the basis of set procedures,” government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said in a written statement.

He did not name any of those whose passports were revoked.

A Cypriot passport grants visa-free travel, working and residency rights throughout the 27-nation European Union. The scheme was popular with Russians and investors from Asia.

Under the scheme, authorities would grant a passport to applicants meeting a minimum investment requirement, which had a price tag of 2 million euros ($2.43 million) in its final form.

The government-appointed commission, headed by a former Chief Justice, said the scheme had run in a vaccum for more than a decade without adequate oversight and no checks and balances.

It concluded that more than 53% of people who obtained citizenship under the scheme did so unlawfully. [Reuters]

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Cyprus  |  passport  |  scheme

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