CYPRUS is beginning the process of revoking citizenship from 26 individuals, including fugitive financier Jho Low, who obtained citizenship through the country’s investment-for-passport program.
The withdrawal process is focused on investors who obtained a total of 26 passports, including for family members, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides told reporters in Nicosia.
Jho Low is among those who will be stripped of Cypriot citizenship, a senior government official said.
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Low has been painted by prosecutors as the mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal, which saw more than $4.5 billion allegedly misappropriated from the Malaysian investment fund. He recently struck a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to return almost $1 billion of assets to resolve forfeiture cases linked to him. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The decision to revoke Cypriot citizenship will cover nine Russians, eight Cambodians, five Chinese, two Kenyans, one Iranian and one Malaysian, the government official said.
Cyprus will also review all individuals who’ve obtained some 4,000 passports under the program, while the government plans to ensure strict observance and implementation of the investment program framework, the minister said.
The program has benefited Cyprus and the country needs to safeguard its image, Petrides said.
Reporting by Georgios Georgiou and Paul Tugwell