More ‘golden passports’ to be revoked

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The Cabinet decided to strip citizenship from another 10 individuals, among thousands who benefited from a cash-for-passports scheme which collapsed under accusations of corruption in 2020.

Cyprus gave passports to more than 7,000 people under a citizenship scheme which, in its final form, gave citizenship to individuals investing a minimum €2 million.

It was popular with Russian and Asian investors.

Wednesday’s Cabinet decision involved three investors and seven dependants, government spokesman Niovi Parisinou said in a written statement, without identifying the people or their nationalities.

The process to revoke citizenship had started against 60 investors and 159 family members in total since last October, she said.

Six individuals have already had their passports revoked.

Once championed by the government, the passport scheme was abandoned in 2020 after a barrage of news reports suggesting that fraudsters and fugitives from justice had benefited along with bona fide investors.

The European Union also frequently raised misgivings about the programme.

Two official investigations have said the scheme ran without adequate oversight, with one report suggesting some investment transactions could have been fictitious. (source Reuters)