Between 2013 and 2019, an investigation found that thousands of passports issued to wealthy foreigners were illegally awarded.
More than half of the passports that Cyprus issues to wealthy foreigners in an investment plan are illegal, a government-appointed investigative panel has discovered.
More than 3,000 foreign investors earning a minimum of two million euros were issued Cyprus passports between 2013 and 2019, with plan proved popular with Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese and Cambodians.
The program was terminated last year following a corruption scandal that embarrassed the island’s center-right government that had backed the plan before admitting it was in error.
“Our interim report provides statistical data regarding illegal naturalization – in the commission’s view, issued due to exceeding the limits of the law – and that’s 51.81% of the total. number, ”Myron Nicolatos, who led the investigation, told reporters on Friday.
He said a number of others were in the appropriate legal framework but did not meet some of the applicable legal criteria at the time.
Nicolatos added, in “dozens of cases”, the commission proposed to revoke citizenship without giving details.
His report was forwarded to the attorney general’s office and not made public.
“The interim report documenting criminal, disciplinary or administrative liabilities may be investigated by the relevant authorities,” said Nicolatos, president of the Supreme Court until his retirement in 2020, for know.
Unclear and risky for money laundering by critics, the plan has been steadfastly defended by the government through a series of major foreign media reports and suspicions. of the European Union.
Authorities were forced to cancel it after Al Jazeera networks secretly videoed a former parliamentary speaker and others allegedly offered to help a person with a criminal record get a passport.
He resigned, but denied any wrongdoing, saying his comments were taken out of context.
Last year, the European Commission introduced infringement procedures against Cyprus on this scheme, arguing that the grant of EU citizenship for pre-determined payments, without any real links. The EU citizenship has weakened the EU citizenship.
Investigators polled 2,478 passports issued between 2007 and 2016, and an additional 417 passports considered high-risk, until 2020.