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27th June 2022
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Passports revoked and law firms fined

The Council of Ministers has decided to revoke the passports of four Russians and their families who were granted Cyprus citizenship under the island’s disgraced Citizenship by Investment (a.k.a. Golden Passports) scheme that was brought to an abrupt end in November 2020.

The four Russian individuals have been sanctioned by the European Union as a consequence of the Russian war in Ukraine. The four have been named as:

Mikhail Gutseriev, a major Russian businessman who was sanctioned for supporting the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Alexander Ponomarenko, chairman of the board of Sheremetyevo, Russia’s largest airport.

Vadim Moskovic, a member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle with an estimated net wort of nearly US$2 billion.

Alexei Kuzmichev, one of the wealthiest people in the world, who according to EU regulators has “well established ties to the Russian president”

The 17 family members of the four have also had their Cypriot citizenship and golden passports revoked.

(A probe into the disgraced citizenship scheme revealed that more than half – 53% – of the 6,779 passports issued were done so illegally.)

Law firms breached money laundering regulations

The Cyprus Bar Association has fined four unnamed law firms for breaching numerous rules including those on money laundering.

The head of the Association told Phileleftheros that the fines were imposed following investigations; further cases are under investigation.

The fines range from €8,000 to €79,000 and the higher fine was imposed on one law firm involved in a ‘significant number’ of citizenships. The firm faced 45 allegations relating to breaches of the money laundering regulations.

As far as we are aware, none of the lawyers that breached the regulations have had their licenses revoked.

 

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