Cyprus ends citizenship program after corruption probe

Criminals could get passports if real estate investments were big enough

TRD New York TRD WEEKEND EDITION /
Oct.October 18, 2020 02:00 PM
Nicosia (Credit: iStock)

Nicosia (Credit: iStock)

Cyprus is ending a citizenship program after an undercover investigation found elected officials were willing to help criminals get passports if they made real estate and other investments.

The Cypriot government announced Tuesday the Cyprus Investment Programme would end Nov. 1, according to Al Jazeera.

The statement came just a day after Al Jazeera published a report implicating high-ranking officials in schemes to help convicted criminals obtain Cyprus passports, which allow access to the rest of the European Union and its markets.

The citizenship program granted passports to anyone who invested at least $2.5 million into the country. The program has attracted $8 billion worth of investment in Cyprus since 2013.

The program has been criticized in the past, including by European Union officials, who said it allows criminals to launder stolen assets and dirty money.

In August, Al Jazeera published 1,400 documents showing that Cyprus officials failed to comply with its own laws meant to prevent criminals and fugitives from obtaining passports.

Al Jazeera reporters posed as representatives of a Chinese national seeking a passport through the program. They were open about their fictional client’s prison term for money laundering, which legally precluded him from participating in the program.

Several parties including a real estate developer, a parliament member, and the speaker of parliament told them that the prison term wouldn’t be an issue if their fictional client invested enough money in the country.

“You can tell him that he will have, without mentioning my name or anybody else’s, full support from Cyprus,” said parliamentary speaker Demetris Syllouris. “At any level — political, economic, social, everything.” [Al Jazeera]Dennis Lynch


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Ivan Ko

Hong Kong developer pitches ground-up city in Ireland for HK expats

Hong Kong developer pitches ground-up city in Ireland for HK expats
Lisbon

Landlords slow to embrace Lisbon’s rent guarantee program

Landlords slow to embrace Lisbon’s rent guarantee program
Switzerland (Credit: iStock)

Switzerland may surpass Hong Kong as the top global corporate tax haven

Switzerland may surpass Hong Kong as the top global corporate tax haven
Fredrik Eklund (Getty)

When Italy opened up travel, Fredrik Eklund went hunting for his Tuscan dream home

When Italy opened up travel, Fredrik Eklund went hunting for his Tuscan dream home
Amancio Ortega (Getty)

Spain’s richest man owns $17B in real estate

Spain’s richest man owns $17B in real estate
Vitaly Malkin and Courchevel (Wikipedia)

The 1% are being hampered by France’s anti-shell company levy

The 1% are being hampered by France’s anti-shell company levy
Rifaat al-Assad (Wikipedia Commons)

Syrian dictator’s uncle sentenced to prison, and $101M in European real estate is seized

Syrian dictator’s uncle sentenced to prison, and $101M in European real estate is seized
Simon and David Reuben with an aerial view of the San Juan resevoir (Credit: Wikipedia)

Reuben Brothers scoop up 618-acre property outside Madrid

Reuben Brothers scoop up 618-acre property outside Madrid
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...