Russian, Chinese and Cambodian investors could lose Cypriot passport

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Ten Russians, five Chinese and eight Cambodians are among the 26 foreign investors who are earmarked to be stripped of their Cyprus passport after obtaining it through the Citizenship for Investment scheme.

Cyprus daily Politis has published a list of the 26 people who are to lose their Cypriot passport after the cabinet found them to have violated the required criteria.

According to Politis, the people on the list have had their names mentioned in the media in connection with serious crimes or financial scams.

The list, according to Politis, includes 10 Russians, who have come under investigations regarding financial crimes.

They were named by Politis as Vladimir Stolyarenco, his wife and daughter, Alexander Bondarenko, his wife and two sons, Oleg Deripaska, his son and daughter.

The backlist also includes 8 Cambodians, who are either state officials of related to one. The country’s regime has been subject to sanctions for corruption and human rights abuses.

The Cambodian eight are; finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth and his wife Im Paulika, Choeung Sopheap, a powerful businesswoman and close friend of the prime minister’s wife and her husband Lao Meng Khin, MP, Hun Kimleng, the prime minister’s niece and her husband Neth Savoeun, chief of police and their two daughters.

Five Chinese are on the list, namely Zhang Shumin, his wife and their three children. Shumin is allegedly involved in a major gold bars fraud case.

The names of two Kenyans are on the list as they appear to be involved in a financial scam.

Malaysian fugitive Jho Taek Low will also have his Cyprus passport revoked.

Jho Low is allegedly involved in a multi-billion-dollar scandal that surfaced in 2015 when he was managing an investment firm named 1Malaysia Development Berhad headed by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak.

According to a Bloomberg report, Low allegedly created a series of shell companies through which he channelled hundreds of millions, many of which ended up in his accounts. Jho Low denies any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, revoking an investor’s citizenship appears to be anything but easy as investors will have the right to appeal the decision in court.

Furthermore, despite every state having the sovereign right to remove citizenship from one of its citizens, if that citizen has no other nationality, he or she cannot become stateless.

Some of the 26 people on the list have already been stripped of the nationality of their countries of origin thus complicating the matter.

Regarding the procedure itself, the investors have been informed of the cabinet decision, either directly or through the offices that were responsible for handling their cases.

It is expected that they will raise objections that will have to be examined and either be accepted or rejected. In the case of rejection (which is the most likely scenario), the cabinet will deprive them of citizenship.

Interested parties can seek justice by seeking annulment of the cabinet decision but any court ruling is subject to appeal, either by the government or the investor.