The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus has sent a circular to its members calling for high scrutiny of citizenship via investment applicants. And it also notes that passport applicants should be considered as high-risk clients.
In addition, ICPAC wants auditors to check the framework behind a potential investment stressing that this should also assist the overall economy of Cyprus.
It then underlines that citizenship by investment programmes carry the risk of legalising money coming from laundering, corruption and tax evasion mainly because of the nature of the target group they attract, that is, high-income individuals.
Therefore, the circular points out, particular attention should be paid to addressing all risks of possible money laundering and the reputation associated with the island’s investment programme.
The goal of the circular’s guidelines is the application of uniform due diligence checks when services are provided to new or existing clients associated with the Cyprus’ Investment Programme.
The guidelines are there to also assist auditors with ensuring that the implementation of anti-money laundering legislation is not circumvented within the context of providing services to applicants of this programme.
The circular also notes that the source of a client’s wealth and funds must be verified during the audit, and in the event that citizenship is refused, the reasons should be substantiated and taken into account.
It then notes that a potential investment should contribute towards further strengthening the Cyprus economy.
At the same time, auditors have to determine whether existing or potential clients have participated in other citizenship investment plans.