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Cyprus passport sales revealed

Following questions raised by Giorgos Perdikis concerning the transparency of the citizenship by investment aka passport for cash scheme the Cyprus News Agency reported the figures on Monday.

Cyprus passport sales revealedTHE CYPRIOT government extended around 3,300 passports to foreign investors in the past ten years, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Monday citing official data submitted to the parliament.

By contrast, the number of naturalised persons who either spent seven years in Cyprus or married a Cypriot citizen was 5,800, the CNA reported on Monday citing Green lawmaker Giorgos Perdikis, who also tabled a draft law that aims at offering more transparency in the government’s citizenship-by-investment scheme which allows investors to get a Cypriot passport within months after they invest as little as €2m on the island.

“We are intending to have the proposed law put on vote directly,” he said after a meeting of the parliamentary committee of interior which looked in to the matter, adding that an investigation showed that “the parliament has been misled during the initial debate”.

“It appears that several European countries are transparent, while it emerges that more than one third of the foreigners who obtained the Cypriot citizenship in the past ten years, were exceptions,” the Green lawmaker said. “We definitely need investors, but citizenships should be granted with much caution and without excess”.

The Republic of Cyprus, Perdikis continued, is facing criticism abroad as a result of the excessive application of the scheme.

Akel lawmaker Giorgos K. Georgiou, the vice chairman of the committee of interior who chaired the session on Monday said that the committee expected to be informed about the law firms, the accounting firms and the construction companies which helped their respective customers obtain the Cypriot citizenship, the CNA reported.

Readers' comments

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  • colin lumley says:

    Question

    A lot of fuss about renewing yellow slips for ex pats.

    Whats your thinking.

    Thanks

    Ed: There is no requirement for expats to renew Yellow slip Registration Certificates (MEU1).

    I think you may be talking about acquiring the right of permanent residence, for which you’ll need to complete an MEU3 form. More about this on the EU website – Permanent residence (>5 years) for EU nationals and also on the Civil Registry and Migration Department – Permanent Residence of Union Citizens and Their Family Members (MEU3).

  • GB says:

    How many of the 3,300 are Russians and have since been listed on the US sanctions list? Now that would be interesting.

    Ed: According to press reports there have only been 1,732 actual investors – the remaining 1,651 are their family members.

  • Richard says:

    Transparency surrounding asset transfers is now a global problem. The meteoric rise of crypto-currencies in the last 6-7 years is quite possibly fuelled by illicit money-laundering.

    If large of sums of money are being transferred that were earned legally – fine. If people want to transfer assets and gain citizenship legally – fine.

    I think people are confusing jealousy of the wealthy with what is legal – and on occasions – that’s been a really incredibly grey area.

    A lot of countries have swapped passports for assets, not just Cyprus. Trouble with Cyprus is a lot of the practices towards ordinary people by a few in wealth and authority have been dubious in the extreme. As a direct consequent of that glaring fact – the few have utterly lost the trust of the majority – and it’s frankly their own fault. If you stand out – you get noticed (especially if it’s for all the wrong reasons).

  • steve r says:

    Akel lawmaker Giorgos K. Georgiou, the vice chairman of the committee of interior who chaired the session on Monday said that the committee expected to be informed about the law firms, the accounting firms and the construction companies which helped their respective customers obtain the Cypriot citizenship.

    Well good luck in dealing with these people and expecting open and transparent answers from them.

  • MartynG says:

    Mr. Perdikis is absolutely right, there has obviously been a quite blatant lack of rigour in checking out applicants for this scheme, it needs remedying forthwith. There needs to be transparency in such dealings, as there are elsewhere. A Register of who, what, when should be created, including those already ‘nodded through’.

    Yes, the scheme has clearly raised much needed funding to redress the financial follies of the past in this country but apart from a chosen few who has any idea who Cyprus has been letting in, who has been “checking them” – and on what terms? Gravy-boat politics and policies usually lead to problems in the future!

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