Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

House passes bills to tighten passport scheme

Parliament on Friday voted into law two bills and approved regulations aimed at tightening Cyprus’ citizenship by investment programme.

One of the laws was passed unanimously, while the other was passed with an overwhelming majority, 51 votes in favour and three who abstained. The regulations were approved with 29 votes in favour, 19 against and four abstentions.

One of the amendments came from the Green Party which specifies that one of the conditions in the scheme which sees the exchange of an investment for a passport, would be at least €100,000 going towards the national solidarity fund for depositors who lost funds during the 2013 haircut, as well as bondholders.

Akel MP Eleni Mavrou said the programme came into force in 2013 in a bid to support the economy but in the past few years, the greed of big lawyers and developers changed the philosophy of the scheme and turned it into a source of ridicule for the state.

What started with 30 to 40 passports per year, turned into 700 to 800 annually, with Cyprus’ name being dragged as far as Hollywood and the president’s law office linked as well, Mavrou said.

The citizenship by investment programme was previously flagged by the EU as a potential money-laundering risk for Cyprus but the government has been cleaning up the list of bad actors and tightening its grip on who can receive citizenship with limits per year in terms of numbers.



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