Cyprus to File Charges Related to 100 Cases of Golden Visas Granted to “Problematic” Foreigners

Authorities in Cyprus are ready to take action to file charges related to the country’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP).

In a meeting scheduled between police investigators and the Law Office, the progress related to the CIP cases will be examined.

Sources told Cyprus Philenews that these files have been submitted for review and potential prosecution.

The new decision comes following April’s meeting where the broader investigation and expediting actions were discussed.

Previously, police officials in Cyprus submitted a completed file on the largest case related to 21 applications processed by a single service provider, a law firm suspected of facilitating irregular approvals.

In addition, the police team is scrutinizing a total of 100 citizenship grants to international investors deemed problematic.

This also includes cases where persons were wanted for crimes like fraud or where promised investments were made or were fictitious.

Cyprus Introduced Golden Knowledge Program

The Citizenship by Investment Program of Cyprus gave internationals the opportunity to acquire citizenship by financially investing in the country and meeting the needed conditions.

However, reports from Al Jazeera revealing the program’s involvement in irregular affairs such as corruption and money laundering led the government to put an end to this scheme in 2020.

Besides, Cyprus also imposed stricter rules on its Golden Visa Program granting international residency in exchange for financial investment. The decision was announced in November last year, following Interior Ministry Approval to do so.

The findings recorded in the audit service’s special report had already been identified by the ministry itself when it assumed governance, on the basis of Moneyval’s relevant indications of the risk of abuse that existed due to the weaknesses of the programme.

Ministry of Interior

The figures from the European Union’s statistical office, Eurostat, revealed that in 2022, over 2,900 people acquired citizenship in Cyprus compared to 1,900 registered in 2021.

In December last year, Cyprus unfolded plans to introduce the Golden Knowledge Scheme to bring a larger number of talented foreigners to the country.

Announcing the new changes, Diko MP Nicolas Papadopoulos, insisted that the new bill was not another citizenship programme.

Papadopoulos said that for those planning to benefit from this scheme, a working knowledge of the Greek language as well as no criminal record and having sufficient money to cover their expenses would be enough.