Cyprus has terminated its investment passport program


Nicosia (credit: iStock)

Nicosia (credit: iStock)

Cyprus ends its citizenship program after a secret investigation found that elected officials were willing to help criminals obtain passports if they made real estate investments and other investments.

The Cypriot government announced on Tuesday that, according to al-Jazeera, the investment program in Cyprus will end on November 1.

The statement came just a day after Al Jazeera published a report on the involvement of high-ranking officials in programs to help convicted criminals obtain Cypriot passports, which allow access to the rest of the European Union and its markets.

The citizenship program awarded passports to anyone who has invested at least $ 2.5 million in the country. The program has attracted $ 8 billion in investment in Cyprus since 2013.

The program has been criticized in the past, including by European Union officials, who said it allowed criminals to launder stolen property and dirty money.

In August, Al Jazeera published 1,400 documents showing that Cypriot officials had not complied with their own laws to prevent criminals and refugees from obtaining passports.

Al Jazeera reporters pretended to be a representative of a Chinese citizen who applied for a passport through the program. They were open about a fictitious client in prison for money laundering, which legally prevented him from participating in the program.

Several parties, including a real estate developer, a member of parliament and the speaker of parliament, told them that imprisonment would not be a problem if their fictitious client invested enough money in the country.

“You can tell him that he will have the full support of Cyprus without mentioning my name or the name of anyone else,” said Parliament Speaker Demetris Syllouris. “At any level – political, economic, social, everything.” [Al Jazeera]Dennis Lynch

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