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Audit Office releases controversial scrapped ‘golden passports’ report

The Audit Office on Monday released its much-anticipated report on the ‘golden passports’ which shows shortcomings and flaws in the now scrapped citizenship by investment scheme.

It is now published on the Office’s website:

At the same time, Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides said in a tweet that the report was the Office’s contribution to the inspection of a program that stigmatized Cyprus internationally.

The purpose was for accountability, attribution of responsibilities and revocation of citizenships to prevail.

And that, without doubt, the audit could be done in parallel with the one carried out by an independent investigative committee if it was not blocked for one whole year.

Key results fromthe audit are the following: 1. The Investment Scheme  remained loose till its suspension 2. The Ministry of Interior had hid data from the Cabinet 3. Loss from VAT was €200 million 4. €25 million loss from non-collection of fees 5. Contracts worth €1 billion were cancelled 6. Contracts worth €3.5 billion are still pending.

The auditor-general had launched a probe into the controversial citizenship-by-investment programme back in July 2019, requesting information from the civil registry and migration department.

It had received a response five months later that the information it was seeking was kept at the Interior Ministry.

Acting on legal advice furnished by the Attorney-General, the Interior Ministry then declined to provide the Audit Office with the requested files citing concerns about overlap with other ongoing investigations.

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