The Government is preparing to activate the procedures for the revocation of Cypriot citizenship by investors, immediately after the Parliament's vote on the amendment bill approved by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.
Under the amendment, the authorities are given the right to revoke Cypriot citizenship by individuals, looking back up to ten years to see if they have violated any of the conditions set out in the revised legislation.
As far as we know, the violations on which the decisions for revocation of the passports of the 29 investors were based and made within the previous ten years, so it is considered that the specific decisions will be justified. It is recalled that the decision to revoke passports was taken many months ago.
Citizenship revocations based on the amending bill can be made in the event of a conviction for a crime over five years in any country, for persons wanted by Interpol or Europol, for persons who do not comply with the criteria and the additional conditions provided to the relevant regulations and for persons subject to international sanctions.
The documents for the revocation of Cypriot citizenship by the 29 people for whom the Ministry has taken a relevant decision have almost been completed. However, even under the new circumstances, the recall process is not expected to be easy since several of those affected already appear to have started preparing their line of defense.
However, under the new regulations approved by the Council of Ministers, the levels of control of the entire process of investor naturalization are significantly increased, with particular emphasis on the providers of these services. In essence, a Supervision and Audit Committee is being set up, which will be the evolution of the relevant service that already exists and is under the Ministry of Finance. The committee will be composed of officials from the Ministries of Finance and Justice and the General Director of Investment to Cyprus.
The committee will compile a register of providers, which will essentially be the evolution of the existing register, and in which 610 providers of such services are currently registered.
Now the service providers must be natural or legal persons supervised by Authorities which are included in the legislation on the prevention or control of money laundering. Essentially, these are persons supervised by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, the Pancyprian Bar Association, and the Cyprus Association of Certified Public Accountants. In this way, service providers will be concerned both about the provisions and penalties provided for in the regulations and about how much they are required by the very strict law on income from illegal activities. Regulations in relation to providers include strict provisions both in relation to the management of investors' money and in relation to the ways in which the program is projected.
In fact, the penalty in case of non-compliance with the provisions may amount to 350 thousand euros.
Now, land development companies, brokers, or others not supervised by the above authorities, will not be able to provide such services directly.
In addition to the committee that will control the service providers in relation to the Cypriot investment program, a naturalization control unit will be set up, which will consist of permanent staff of the Ministry of Interior.
The Unit will consider the applications for naturalization and will be in charge of the continuous control of the persons who have received exceptional naturalization in order to ensure that they continue to comply with the terms and conditions on the basis of which they were granted citizenship. It is recalled that in addition to the total investment of €2 million, investors will have to own a permanent private home in Cyprus for at least €500 thousand.