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Cyprus

Last-minute citizenship applications number 416 ministry says

File Photo: Photo Illustration Of A Cypriot Passport

The interior ministry said on Friday it had received 416 citizenship applications between October 13, when the cabinet decided to scrap the programme, and November 1, when it officially ended.

The ministry was responding to reports that it had received hundreds of applications from people in those weeks.

In a statement on Friday, the ministry said between the termination announcement and the deadline, it had received 105 applications from investors and 311 relating to their dependants.

It noted that despite publishing the official data repeatedly, “unfortunately the distortion of the figures continues, resulting in the creation of wrong impressions.”

On October 16, the ministry had said there were still 586 applications pending as part of the citizenship by investment programme.

On Tuesday, it announced that pending applications rose to 691 from 586 on September 30.

The ministry said it also included the number of applications from dependants, who did not appear out of thin air, as some people suggested, since they were always part of the programme.

“Specifically, we said that the applications from dependants rose from 411 on September 30, to 722 on November 1,” the ministry said.

The decision to scrap the programme followed a damning report by Al Jazeera whose undercover journalists filmed then House president Demetris Syllouris and Akel MP Christakis Giovanis appearing ready to help a Chinese businessman with a criminal record — who it later emerged was fictitious – secure a Cypriot passport.

Both have since resigned while police have launched an investigation into the allegations.

 

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