Cyprus sues for the first time in a passport-for-investment scheme

Based on the findings of an ad hoc committee, actions were taken against five individuals and four legal persons.

After Al Jazeera’s corruption, Cyprus abolished a controversial passport-for-investment program last year and has filed its first criminal lawsuit against Cyprus. Exposed, According to national legal services.

It said in a statement on Friday: “The first criminal case concerning naturalization of foreign investors and businessmen has been registered in the Larnaca District Court.”

It said that based on the findings of an ad hoc committee, there were 37 charges against five individuals and four legal persons, who were unnamed.

The legal services department said that due to the “seriousness” of the investigation, it would not disclose “sensitive details.”

“Gold Passport”

In November last year, after a documentary was broadcast on Al Jazeera, Cyprus abandoned the so-called “Golden Passport” program.

Congress speaker Demetris Syllouris and an opposition politician were secretly filmed, allegedly trying to provide passports for fugitive investors.

They later resigned, even though they all insisted that they were all right.

Al Jazeera reported that dozens of other applicants are under criminal investigation, international sanctions, and even jailed.

Nicosia has long faced pressure from Brussels to reform the plan because of concerns that it might help organized criminal groups to penetrate the European Union.

Cyprus believes that this investment is crucial after the island’s 2013 economic crisis.

Thousands of documents

Nicosia has issued thousands of passports under the program, allowing applicants to exchange for one copy with an investment of US$3 million.

According to the interim results of an independent survey, about 51% of the 6,779 passports issued from 2007 to 2020 were issued to unqualified recipients.

It said the authorities had stamped the citizenship requirement on the rubber stamp without going through due process or proper background checks.

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