The Republic of Cyprus has begun the process of stripping seven people of Cypriot citizenship granted through the Cyprus Investment Program after a special committee found them in violation of current stricter criteria, President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with AFP on Friday.
The committee was tasked in November 2019 with investigating some 30 cases for any violations of the program’s criteria, with the report that was handed in on Thursday finding seven cases problematic.
“It seems that seven out of the 30, they should be deprived of the Cyprus citizenship,” Anastasiades told AFP, noting that the process has begun to strip the seven of the granted citizenship.
Though the Cyprus ‘golden passports’ scheme entered the limelight once again last month following a series of reports by Al Jazeera, which obtained over 1,400 leaked documents relating to the program, with reports taking a stab at the granting of citizenships to criminals and politically-exposed persons, Cyprus has insisted that it has steadily introduced stricter and more effective control mechanisms.
In the past "there were some deficiencies or loopholes in the programme. And that's why we have adopted so many steps ... to introduce more effective control mechanisms," Anastasiades told AFP.
On Thursday, the Cyprus Cabinet agreed to order the Attorney General to set up a new committee that will be tasked with probing all citizenships granted through the investment scheme since its introduction in 2007 and until July 2020, amounting to some 4,000 cases.
Anastasiades told AFP that he believed the number of violators to be found by the new committee would be very low.