Authorities in Cyprus have revoked passports from three investors who acquired citizenship in this country through the Citizenship by Investment Scheme known as the Golden Passport Program, thus benefiting from Cyprus’ passports.
The decision, according to the government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis was taken after the “necessary investigation in this regard was undertaken,” SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
A 2023 bill in order to protect the collective interest of consumers was also approved by the country’s cabinet.
“The bill modernises the existing institutional framework for protecting consumers’ collective interests,” which permits courts to order a stop to behaviours that go against the legislation on consumer protection.
The bill also includes new rules that courts are eligible to use in order to issue corrective decisions where consumers have been wronged.
Wealthy investors from foreign countries were eligible to acquire citizenship in Cyprus if they made a financial contribution of at least €2.5 million and met specific conditions.
Even though it helped Cyprus’ economy rapidly grow, attracting investors from China and Russia particularly, it also turned a blind eye to many unlawful affairs, including corruption, tax evasion and money laundering.
Cyprus abolished its Golden Passport Scheme back in 2020, following a report provided by Al Jazeera named the Cyprus Papers, which brought into light the fact that persons involved in illegal acts also managed to acquire residency in Cyprus through this program.
A previous report by AP revealed that Cyprus’ authorities revoked a total of 222 passports granted through the Citizenship by Investment Scheme. The deputy government spokeswoman Niovi Parisinou stressed that such figures also included a total of 63 investors and 159 of their relatives, including spouses, children and parents.
According to the Cyprus Probe report provided last year, 6,779 people benefited from this program for a period between 2007 and 2020.
Last year, the Audit Office found that the country’s Golden Visa Program remained rotten until the end, thus causing the loss of millions in public revenue.
Besides, the report also stressed that several actions of the Cyprus government officials could also account for criminal acts.
The government spokesman Marios Pelekanos noted that a response would come in the name of the government “as soon as possible after the findings of the report are studied with due diligence, alongside the findings of the [separate] Nicolatos inquiry and always taking into account the opinions of the attorney-general.”
Previously it was reported that the former President of the country’s Parliament and three other former Members of Parliament were charged with corruption over their involvement in the country’s Citizenship by Investment scheme.
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