Nicosia is trying to play down the finding by a government-appointed board of inquiry that more than half the passports Cyprus issued to rich foreigners in an investment scheme were illegal.
More than 3,000 foreign investors who stumped up a minimum of two million euros were given Cypriot passports between 2013 and 2019 with the now abolished scheme proving popular with Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese and Cambodians.
The government spokesman’s response on Monday was that when the problem of lack of legality in the naturalization of relatives of investors was identified the government had proceeded with the drafting of regulations.
However, this is not true since the Law Office had pointed – in July 2015 – that the naturalization of relatives was carried out at the abuse of the law but the government had continued with naturalizations.
The programme was terminated last year after a corruption scandal, embarrassing the island’s centre-right administration which had championed the scheme before admitting it was flawed.