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Cyprus

Cabinet moves to revoke seven citizenships (Update 1)

The cabinet decided on Wednesday to start procedures to revoke the citizenships of seven people issued under the citizenship through investment scheme, government spokesman Kyriacos Koushios said.

Commenting on the seven, Kousios said: “These individuals were approved and given citizenships, and while hiding significant information, they made false representations during their application process.”

According to Kousios, the report of a committee headed by Securities and Exchange Commissioner Demetra Kalogirou will also be handed to the police chief so 12 more individuals can be investigated.

The police will investigate whether those 12 in the report are wanted for serious crimes – resulting in more than five years imprisonment – in Europe or elsewhere, Kousios said.

After the investigations, Kousios said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris would inform the cabinet of the results, and the cabinet would then decide if procedures to revoke their citizenship would be started.

Kalogirou’s report will also be sent to the head of the tax department for further investigation into the people under investigation.

In September, the legal service announced it had given police instructions to launch investigations into possible criminal offences in connection with the discovery that seven individuals had secured Cypriot citizenship under false pretences or by withholding important information.

The instructions to police were given after the legal service assessed the report of the ad-hoc committee, led by the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Demetra Kalogirou, into certain citizenships granted from 2012 to 2018. The findings of the committee’s investigation were announced earlier this month.

Kalogirou heads the committee appointed in November 2019 to look into certain citizenships granted from 2012 to 2018. The panel examined 12 files involving 42 individuals considered “high risk.”

Four of the files concerned seven persons who had withheld vital information on their applications. For these, the panel recommends the immediate rescinding of citizenship.

In August, Al Jazeera began a series of reports about Cyprus’ Citizenship by Investment Programme, based on an investigation of “more than 1,400 leaked documents”. It dubbed the applications for citizenship, which it claimed contained the names of 2,544 people, the ‘Cyprus Papers’.

Investigators, who were in contact with the attorney-general, would be looking through all Al Jazeera’s reports, in search of clues, police spokesman Christos Andreou said.

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