Insider Economy 'Stop' to citizenship for state officials

‘Stop’ to citizenship for state officials

Aiming at transparency as regards Cyprus’ citizenship scheme so as to put an end to bad publicity abroad, the Council of Ministers has approved an Interior Ministry proposal prohibiting high risk individuals from obtaining Cyprus passports.

The proposal, adopted at a meeting of the Council of Ministers on July 25, relates to due diligence rules and will prohibit the granting of passports to individuals who hold or have held a state position in the past five years.

The prohibition will also apply to individuals who have been subject to sanctions by third countries or who have links to organisations who have been subject to sanctions.

Interior Ministry sources said the aim is to introduce a comprehensive system of checks so as to dissolve any shadows over Cyprus as regards this specific issue.

Moreover, a final decision is expected in September as to which international firms will carry out due diligence tests on third country nationals. Eight firms have shown an interest, from which three will be selected.

Cyprus’  citizenship scheme has already been amended with the adoption of tougher criteria for the issue of a Cyprus passport that came into force last May.

Changes included an increase in the investment from €2m to €2.5m and the requirement the investment be retained for at least five years from the date citizenship is granted — up from the three years that had previously applied.

More than 3000 citizenships have been granted in the period of 2013 to 2018 under the investment programme, generating considerable revenue. But in the face of criticism from EU partners, the government has moved to revise criteria so as to ease concerns.

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