Cyprus Government Publishes Demetra Kalogirou's Report on Golden Passports

Правительство Кипра обнародовало отчёт Димитры Калогиру о "золотых" паспортах
29 December 2020 Liza Medvetskaya

The Cypriot government finally released the report of the Chairman of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission Demetra Kalogirou.

As you may know 12 investors who obtained Golden passports by Investment. Among them:

  • Joe Lowe, who is accused of withdrawing billions of dollars from the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)
  • citizen of the Dominican Republic of Iranian descent Mehdi Ebrahimi Eshratabadi and his son
  • two Russians and their family members, naturalized in 2012 and wanted by the authorities of their country for financial fraud
  • Chinese Zhang Shumin, naturalized with his family, wanted by the Chinese authorities in a gold fraud case.

As it turned out, the Commission was able to find many violations, including criminal offenses related to the issued passports.

Forgery of documents, concealment of facts of crimes and important information, provision of deliberately false data - this is an incomplete list of what was found out.

It is worth noting that the names and information that relates to personal data or may interfere with the ongoing investigation were removed from the report.

Правительство Кипра обнародовало отчёт Димитры Калогиру о

The most important findings in the 59-page, 13-annex report:

  1. The Ministry of Internal Affairs did not thoroughly study all the submitted documentation from the applicants, as well as the correctness of filling in all the fields of naturalization applications. The three-member committee recommended that the corresponding form be revised.
  2. The source of the investors' income and its origin has not been properly verified.
  3. Required verification of the authenticity of the letters of recommendation has not been performed. Some investors' CVs were incomplete or misrepresented specific law firms.
  4. Cases have been identified when the value of Cypriot real estate was exceeded by more than 200%. In one case, an investor paid EUR 5.5 million for a house, the cost of which in the Land Registry was EUR 800 thousand. And in another - EUR 2.25 million were paid for real estate with an estimated value of EUR 950 thousand.
  5. Cases of providing incomplete data in relation to VAT payment have been identified. The committee recommended that the tax department conduct due diligence.
  6. The report noted a case when the application from a foreign investor for the granting of citizenship was initially rejected, but after the intervention of the Minister of Finance it was still approved.
  7. There was also a case where a bank failed to conduct proper transaction verification and account monitoring procedures to determine the source and origin of an investor's money.
  8. On August 16, 2016, one of the investors made a payment of three million euros by credit card. At the same time, the operation was completed using 25 transactions within 30 minutes.

It is noteworthy that according to Kologirou's report, out of 42 cases of naturalization of foreign citizens, only two of them met all the criteria of the naturalization program.

The members of the commission urged to immediately consider the issue of depriving the Golden passports of twelve people, as they are wanted in the case of embezzlement and fraud. The experts noted that five files are classified as high risk and those involved should be continuously monitored.

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