The Strategist

Cyprus puts freeze on cancelling 26 "golden passports"

02/04/2020 - 08:48

Three months ago, Cyprus announced its intention to withdraw “golden passports” of 26 people. However, no action has been taken since then, the Phileleftheros newspaper writes. According to the outlet, the process stalled due to the lack of the necessary law.

The legislation on citizenship deprivation in Cyprus does not contain separate provisions for the revocation of passports issued to foreign nationals for investment, explains Phileleftheros, one of the island's largest newspapers. This is a legal complexity that does not allow the Cypriot authorities to start the process of deprivation of citizenship of 26 people, which was announced in early November.

According to Phileleftheros, in the near future, the ministers of internal affairs and justice of Cyprus will discuss this problem with the country's prosecutor general in order to find a way out of the situation. Most likely, the newspaper believes, laws will be amended to extend deprivation of citizenship procedures to foreign investors.

Inspections of the island’s authorities have not yet revealed other candidates for depriving them of Cyprus “golden passports”, the newspaper also found out. It notes that the process is not over yet, and the situation may change. But after checking citizenship for investment, the government will audit those who received a permanent residence permit under the same program, Phileleftheros recognized. According to the newspaper, 579 investors received citizenship of Cyprus only in 2019, and most of the applications were approved until May 15, when stricter rules came into force. More than 700 appeals are pending. Since the Cypriot authorities limited the number of issued “golden passports” per year, new applications are unlikely to be considered in 2020, the newspaper said. 

Overall, interest in the Cyprus investment program has declined significantly, and developers are now more focused on domestic clients, Phileleftheros concludes.

The Cypriot Minister of the Interior announced his intention to withdraw 26 “golden passports” on November 6. The island’s authorities did not officially name the people whom they decided to deprive of citizenship.


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