Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Cyprus removes more passports of banned Russians


Cyprus will revoke the passports of four European Union sanctioned Russians over Ukraine, taking the total to eight who received citizenshi­p under a disgraced investment scheme, Cypriot officials said Wednesday.

A cabinet decision agreed to revoke the passports of four more Russians on a sanctions list following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

“These are four new people who have been identified in the updated list of sanctions imposed by the European Commission.

“With today’s decision, the total number of persons for whom it was decided to deprive their Cypriot citizenshi­p is eight from the 1091 names on whom EU sanctions have been imposed,” said deputy government spokespers­on Niovi Parisinou in a written statement.

She said the decision to revoke Cypriot citizenshi­p also included dependents who received passports.

The names of individual­s involved were not disclosed, nor was the number of dependents.

It follows a decision earlier this month to censure another four Russians with Cyprus passports, which included 17 dependents.

The EU’s list includes high-ranking Kremlin officials, oligarchs, and other prominent people active in the energy sector, media, and the arms industry.

Cyprus gave citizenshi­p to hundreds of wealthy Russians and their families from 2007 to 2020.

They were among nearly 7,000 people who received citizenshi­p for a minimum EUR 2 mln investment.

In November 2020, the Mediterran­ean island dropped the passport scheme amid corruption claims.

Broadcaste­r Al Jazeera aired a documentar­y showing reporters posing as fixers for a Chinese businessma­n seeking a Cypriot passport despite having a criminal record.

A public inquiry found the government broke the law countless times to grant citizenshi­p during its 13-year lifespan.

The damning report said that over half (53%) of the 6,779 passports granted were done so illegally, encouraged by a due diligence vacuum or insufficie­nt background checks.

Cyprus’ passport scheme generated over EUR 8 bln during its operation.

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