The Council of Ministers decided to start the process of revoking the Cypriot citizenship of 39 foreign investors and 6 members of their families.
Also they repealed previous amendments regarding the legality of naturalization of investors' family members.
This was announced on Friday, October 16, by the official representative of the government, Marios Pelekanos.
According to Pelekanos, the Council of Ministers also decided to continue the investigation of 6 cases on the issuance of Golden passports, as well as to take control of another 47 cases in accordance with the legal procedures.
By the way, earlier the Inquiry Committee, headed by Myron Nikolatos, said that more than half of the 3,000 golden citizenships granted by the Cypriot government between 2007 and August 2020 were illegal. The committee recommended that the passports of 102 'new Cypriots' be revoked.
According to Pelekanos, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, having studied the findings, submitted concrete proposals to the Council of Ministers, which they approved.
Pelekanos stressed that in some cases, when the committee recommended depriving foreigners of Cypriot citizenship, it was found that all the criteria of the investment program were met. The investigation revealed that they still own the property, so there is no legal basis for revoking their citizenship.
Finally, Pelekanos said that the decision of the Council of Ministers will soon be brought to the attention of the European Commission.
As you may know, the investigation into the illegal issuance of golden passports began after the publication of a secret video recorded by Al Jazeera, in which Christakis Giovanis and former President of the House of Representatives Demetris Silluris offer assistance to a fictitious Chinese criminal in obtaining citizenship.
The channel stated that about 1.4 thousand people, including businessmen from the Russian Federation, Vietnam and China, illegally received Cypriot gold passports, since at the time of consideration of applications they were under suspicion of committing crimes or even on the international wanted list. The opposition demanded an explanation from the authorities, and the government began to investigate the program, although they also noted the "falsification of facts" on the part of the TV channel.
Brussels was shocked by the secret investigation of the Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera, by the highest political elite of Cyprus who were ready to help convicted criminals obtain EU citizenship, as well as provide them with access to the internal markets of the Union and a visa-free regime.
In October 2020, the European Commission began checking the compliance with EU laws of the Cyprus actions, when EU citizenship can be obtained in exchange for investment in the economy. A corresponding notification was sent to the authorities of the country. Brussels gave Cyprus 2 months to clarify the situation.
Cyprus has appointed a special Inquiry Committee to investigate the high-profile scandal. In parallel, an independent investigation was undertaken by the country's Auditor-General, who, for unknown reasons, was constantly being resisted. A series of public hearings were held on the island.
Finally, on June 22, the office of the Attorney General of Cyprus released the final report of the Investigative Committee, which, under the leadership of Myron Nikolatos, was investigating cases of illegal issuance of golden passports. The 780-page dossier has been extensively revised. For security reasons, the names and some personal data of investors were removed from it.
A lengthy investigation has shed light on a host of violations.
- Chronicles of the Cypriot Passport Saga. Part 32 (link)
- Chronicles of the Cypriot Passport Saga. Part 31 (link)
- Chronicles of the Cypriot Passport Saga. Part 30 (link)
- Chronicles of the Cypriot Passport Saga. Part 29 (link)
- Chronicles of the Cypriot Passport Saga. Part 28 (link)
- Chronicles of the Cypriot Passport Saga. Part 27 (link)