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Cyprus still considering Golden Passport applications

Cyprus Golden Passports

Despite numerous warnings from the European Commission, Cyprus is still considering ‘golden passport’ applications that were pending at the time the disgraced Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) scheme was ‘irrevocably terminated’ in November 2020.

In October 2020 the European Commission launched infringement procedures against Cyprus and Malta by issuing letters of formal notice regarding their ‘golden passport’ schemes.

The news that Cyprus was continuing to examine ‘golden passport’ applications broke during an interview between Stockwatch and Michalis Zavos, CEO of the Limassol-based D. Zavos Group and member of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association (LBDA).

Mr Zavos defended the scheme blaming its collapse on the absence of proper supervision and believes the government will develop a new investment program with stricter terms and conditions.

He went on to say that Cyprus has become a magnet for the rich and spoke of intense interest from wealthy buyers from European countries; in particular, buyers from Sweden, Germany and England, who are looking to buy properties priced at €1 million – € 2 million.

Golden Passport investigations

Former President of the island’s Supreme Court Myron Nicolatos said that, of the 6,779 golden passports issued during the programme’s 13-year run, 53% were issued not to the investors themselves but to family members or top company executives.

The Attorney-General’s Office had warned on separate occasions in 2015 and 2016 that the practice might be unlawful because there was no specific law enabling the government to issue such passports.

Mr Nicolatos said “It’s obvious that the (programme) operated between 2007 and Aug. 17, 2020, with blanks and omissions, without a legal framework and almost without a regulatory framework

“Also absent were those safety valves, the proper legal guidance as well as adequate supervision regarding existing laws and regulations.”

A study by the Cyprus Ministry of Finance estimated that total investment by foreigners amounts to around €9.7 billion.

In addition to the infringement procedures that the European Commission has already launched against Cyprus, the news that Cyprus is continuing to consider ‘golden passport’ applications may lead to further sanctions.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The EU is remiss in establishing a consistent regulation for all member states to adhere to regarding the granting of EU citizenship e.g. one must reside in the EU for seven years to be eligible to apply for EU citizenship – application to a central body in Brussels.

    At present there are individual nation states and the existence of an EU state; a nebulous gray area in purgatory between a United States of Europe and a free trading bloc such as the EEC. The EU needs to become one or the other of the aforementioned, because at present there are so many nation states going rogue with respect to the principles of the EU it is just not operating with a credible consistency.

  2. The Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association (LBDA) should devote its efforts and resources to developing affordable property for Cypriot citizens.

    • I fully agree. Properties here are far too expensive for many. Prices rocketed as soon as it was announced that Cyprus would be joining the EU.

    • Estate agents generally charge between 3% and 5% (+VAT) of the sale price achieved. I agree that this is a large percentage compared with other countries, but there is a very small turnover of propertuies in Cyprus and a property can remain on an estate agent’s book for many months or years, particularly if it’s a run-of-the-mill type property with nothing worthy of note. (Also many people seem to believe they can sell a property for more than any buyer is prepared to pay.)

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