The interior ministry warned Friday that advertising Cyprus’ citizenship scheme was prohibited and could mean a €350,000 fine for offenders or withdrawal of their licence to provide the service.
The warning came after several companies started advertising the sale of passports after the government decided to scrap the programme at the end of the month following a cash for passports scandal involving senior politicians.
In a written statement, the ministry said the law banned service providers and their associates from promoting and advertising citizenships or the Cypriot passport in any form, including on the internet, social networks, or events.
“The interior ministry has already informed the supervisory committee tasked with addressing the matter,” the statement said.
Violators could be fined up to €350,000 or be stricken off the providers’ registry.
The government decided to terminate the programme this week following recent revelations by Al Jazeera that top politicians could be involved in the process through dishonest practices.
In August, the broadcaster run another expose suggesting Cyprus was granting citizenships to dubious individuals.
The programme, under its current form, will end on November 1 but authorities will still process pending applications and those submitted before then.
The interior ministry said 586 applications had been submitted by September 30. Out of these, 410 were lodged in 2019.
Any new applications must be submitted by 12pm on Friday, October 30. The applications will only be included if they contain all the necessary information and the necessary backing documents.