Friday was the announcement of the Cypriot government that they have decided to officially revoke passports for 39 citizens who received citizenship in a disgraced scheme.
Council of Ministers determined to take down “Cypriot citizenship for 39 investors and 6 members of their families,” government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said, although he didn’t specify the names of the individuals impacted.
Another six cases have also been investigated by the government. 47 additional people were added. “under continuous monitoring… on the basis of the procedures provided.”
The government of Cyprus reached an agreement in October 2018 to terminate its Golden Visa program, effective November 1, 2020. It had previously allowed citizens to apply for citizenship and residency rights as a condition for investing millions to the country. To qualify, individuals would have to, at least, invest €2 million ($2.43 million) in Cypriot properties on top of a donation to the government research fund.
The scheme, dubbed cash-for-citizenship, is thought to have raised €7 billion ($8.12 billion) before the government accepted it had been open to “abusive exploitation.”
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Around 7,000 people were thought to have been granted citizenship by the scheme. However, a commission appointed by the government found that 53% more of those who obtained passports using this system did so in violation of law.
After obtaining a Cypriot passport an individual would be allowed to travel and work in the member countries of the European Union. The European Commission had previously criticized Cyprus for issuing these passports. “European values are not for sale,”He accuses the scheme of “trading European citizenship for financial gains.”
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