The authorities of Cyprus illegally provided ”golden passports“ to 3.5 thousand relatives of investors. This is reported by the Associated Press with reference to the report of the independent commission.
According to the report, the government of Cyprus issued more than half of the 6, 779 “golden passports” to adult relatives of investors, despite the lack of laws allowing this to be done.
It is specified that the authorities of the country incorrectly interpreted the law.
For example, the spouses and children of foreign entrepreneurs and investors cannot be considered investors themselves, so all naturalizations carried out solely because they were relatives were made in violation of the law, the document emphasizes.
In addition, another erroneous interpretation was found, which allowed the issuance of passports to the heads of foreign and local companies, although they did not invest in the economy of the republic.
According to the commission, top managers cannot be considered investors, since they do not own the companies they manage.
Also, among the violations was called the inflated value of the real estate. In some cases, investors overestimated the value of the property they purchased several times.
The Commission also found “serious shortcomings” in the process of processing applications for “golden passports” by the Ministry of the Interior, in particular the “complete lack” of a database for proper verification of applicants.
It is noted that the commission proposed to invalidate 66 passports, but its conclusion is not legally binding.
Earlier in Cyprus, from November 1, 2020, the Cyprus Investment Program (KIP) was canceled, according to which foreigners could obtain citizenship of the country in exchange for investments. The reasons for the cancellation of the program were its shortcomings and abuse.
The program has been in operation since 2013 and has generated about €8 billion in investment. During this time, about 4 thousand “golden passports” were issued.