Cyprus could strip more foreigners of citizenship amid questions over whether they should have been issued ‘golden passports’ under a controversial investment programme.
The Interior Ministry is currently investigating all investors who were granted Cypriot citizenship before 2018, when tougher eligibility criteria were put in place. And insiders told Phileleftheros there are more cases that need to be investigated further.
That’s why additional information has been requested from various services such as the Central Bank of Cyprus and MOKAS (Unit for Combating Money Laundering).
A Cypriot passport appeals especially to wealthy, third-country nationals because holders become European Union citizens and can work and travel freely within the 28-country bloc.
On November 6, the Council of Ministers revoked a total of 26 passports concerning nine different investment cases.
Final decisions on a small number of additional revocations will be taken within the following few days, an insider also said.
In the meantime, the necessary preparations are underway on the content of letters that will be sent to individuals from whom the Cypriot citizenship will be stripped. The letters will basically inform that the process has been initiated. Each one will be different and based on the circumstances on which the revocation takes place.
It seems that in many cases there will be an objection from concerned parties, both at the level of a special committee tasked with the review of complaints, and, at a later stage, before the island’s judicial authorities. Because, among those whose Cypriot citizenship will be revoked are even persons who were on sanctions lists months ago but have been taken out of them.
Final decrees making the revocations official will be issued after concerned individuals have responded to the sent letters or after the competent committee reviews their objection. A process which is anything than easy, according to informed sources.
By Antonis Antoniou