An official investigation revealed that the Cyprus government has violated the law countless times by granting citizenship to thousands of people in exchange for money or investment.
Before the “Money for Passport” program was abolished, Cyprus granted citizenship to 6,779 people between 2007 and 2020, most of whom were Russians. Travel documents are mostly issued by right-wing management. They came to power in 2013 and were re-elected in 2018.
“According to the committee, large-scale violations occurred during this period (…) The then Council of Ministers and anyone interested in granting citizenship to investors’ family members violated the law,” Former investor Myron Nikolatos said. Chief Justice: An independent investigation committee appointed by the government.
The Cyprus Council of Ministers (Cabinet) is responsible for approving passport stamps under the investment plan, which lasts until November 2020.
Nikolatos said that of the 6,779 people who obtained citizenship, 53% were related to major investors and their passports were issued incorrectly.
He said the authorities continued to issue documents to families, even though the chief legal counsel warned the government in 2015 and 2016 that this was an illegal act.
Nikolatos handed the results of the nine-month investigation to the state attorney’s office on Monday.
A spokesperson for the Cyprus government stated that the report should be studied, and there are no comments yet.
The “Money for Passport” plan will be abolished in 2020. It benefits not only investors, but also judicial and political fugitives who are willing to exchange at least 2 million euros in investment for citizenship.
An early version of the report was released in April, stating that the fugitive also sought citizenship through his spouse, and after obtaining citizenship, the real estate was sold to different investors multiple times.
The Cyprus passport allows visa-free travel, work and the right to reside in EU countries.
The European Commission filed a lawsuit against Cyprus last year over the illegal issuance of passports, claiming that “purchasing citizenship” violated the integrity of EU citizenship.