The high-profile scandal around the “golden passports” of Cyprus ended with the fact that the lucrative program, which brought the republic about 8 billion euros of investments, was closed.
The Cyprus Investment Program (CIP), under which foreigners could obtain citizenship in exchange for capital investment, will expire on November 1.
Recall that a high-profile scandal associated with this program erupted after the publication of an investigation by the Al Jazeera TV channel, where high officials of Cyprus were accused of selling citizenship to criminals from other countries.
The correspondent, who introduced himself as a confidant of a businessman convicted in China for money laundering, turned to the now-former speaker of the Cypriot Parliament, Dimitris Sullirus, with a request to help with obtaining a passport for his patron.
It is known that the convicts could not officially use the CIP. But Sullirus told the journalist that the issue could be settled in favor of the businessman. Moreover, he mentioned Latvia in the conversation. Allegedly, if there are problems with Cyprus, then it will be possible to buy a passport there.
In Latvia, this scandalous statement, albeit made in a backstage conversation, did not go unnoticed. The speaker of the Latvian parliament, Inara Murniece, was extremely indignant and said that the mention of Latvia in such an ugly context upset her extremely.
Murniece assured that it was impossible to buy Latvian citizenship and she personally categorically distances herself from everything Sullirus said.
The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) also joined the topic. They stressed that it is impossible to obtain Latvian citizenship by illegal means, bypassing the accepted norms. Moreover, the OCMA stressed that they carefully and regularly check the data of newly minted citizens. Check the availability of all documents, evidence, including knowledge of Latvian.
Scandal in Cyprus
Meanwhile, in Cyprus, not only Sullirus, who resigned in October but also several well-known politicians, dragged into a large-scale scandal. Even the head of the Cypriot Parliament, in the footage filmed by the hidden camera of the journalist’s Al Jazeera, promised to assist the mentioned non-existent entrepreneur from China in obtaining citizenship.
And the European Commission (EC) has initiated a review of programs that allow obtaining citizenship of Cyprus and Malta for compliance with European law. And Cyprus was threatened with sanctions if it did not pass this test.
The Cypriot authorities planned to reduce the number of issued passports from 700 per year to 300 in 2021 and 2022 and to 200 in 2023. However, on October 13, at an extraordinary meeting, the Council of Ministers, at the suggestion of the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs, canceled the TRC, explaining the cancellation by the shortcomings of the program and its abuse.
Since 2013, when the KIP became operational, the Cyprus budget has received about 8 billion euros of foreign investment. Cyprus issued about 4 thousand “golden passports” to those who invested $2.5 million in the economy.