Shady Russian oligarchs with Cypriot passports

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Four dubious Russian oligarchs with close ties to President Vladimir Putin have obtained a Cypriot passport, according to a Cyprus Green MP, calling on authorities to revoke their citizenship.

Green MP Alexandra Attalides has asked the Interior Ministry to inform parliament of four Russian oligarchs reportedly under investigation for their activities in other EU countries.

Attalides has asked whether authorities will freeze their assets or contemplate revoking their golden passports as part of sanctions against Russia’s war on Ukraine.

According to Attalides, two of the four Russians involved have bought property under false pretences, one buying an island in Finland and another a luxury villa in Sardinia.

A third Russian oligarch with a Cypriot passport is under investigation for a €3 mln property deal in Malta.

The fourth has offshore companies set up in Cyprus implicated in money laundering.

“I have been informed that a Russian oligarch has used his Cypriot passport to trick Finnish authorities into allowing him to buy a large island in an area of strategic importance to the east of the country,” said Attalides in a letter to the Interior Ministry.

The oligarch in question is said to control about 70% of the Russian cigarette market, with close ties to the Russian mafia and the country’s security forces and intelligence services.

With tension rising between Russia and Finland, the Finnish Ministry of Defence is reportedly looking into how the island could be used if an armed conflict arises.

“I wish to be informed whether the Cyprus Republic will be freezing his assets and whether his passport will be revoked based on the information above,” wrote Attalides.

“I have been informed that the Italian authorities have confiscated a villa in Sardinia, which belongs to a specific Russian-Uzbeki oligarch, a close associate of the Russian President, who has reportedly been given Cypriot nationality”.

The MP requested authorities to confirm whether the oligarchs have Cyprus passports and, if so, which law firm facilitated the process.

Attalides said that a third oligarch, mentioned in the Pandora Papers, and a close friend of Putin, is under investigation for activities in Belgium, Spain, Greece, and the United States.

Both he and his wife and their two children have allegedly been given Cypriot passports after the oligarch bought property worth €3 mln on the island.

Referring to a fourth Russian investor, Attalides said he and his wife had set up several offshore companies in Cyprus and abroad, through which they have allegedly laundered billions of euros.

The names of the wealthy Russians were not made public.