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Cyprus

Enquiry set to recommend rescinding 44 passports

Passport

An inquiry into the island’s controversial citizenship by investment programme is set to recommend rescinding 44 passports, 22 more than in its interim report that was issued in April suggested, it was reported on Friday.

Quoting the head of the four-member panel, daily Phileleftheros said the number of unlawful citizenships has also risen, from 51.8 per cent to 53 per cent.

The final report will reportedly be given to the Attorney general on Monday.

The interim findings of the probe recorded a litany of irregularities and outright unlawful practices in the granting of Cypriot citizenships down the years – but also stopping short of stating that President Nicos Anastasiades engaged in a quid pro quo with a Saudi businessman.

The heavily redacted 515-page dossier notes that from 2007 through to August 17, 2020, a total of 6,779 citizenships were granted to foreign investors and family members, as well as to managers of companies investing in Cyprus

The government was forced to terminate the programme three months later, on November 1, after the publication of a damning undercover video by Al Jazeera.

According to the report, three administrations spanning 2007 and August 2020, had been implementing the scheme without regulations. It appeared however, that the bulk of irregularities were committed during the Anastasiades administration.

Apart from that, the state had unlawfully granted thousands of citizenships to the spouses and children of investors, ignoring the fact that they were not covered by legislation.

Of the 6,779 citizenships, 48.19 per cent related to investors/businesspeople, 33.90 per cent to spouses, and 17.91 per cent to the applicants’ adult offspring and other relatives. This meant that the majority of passports – 51.81 per cent – related to family members.

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