Cyprus is said to have made billions by selling EU passports to rich investors from russia and ukraine, among others, according to a newspaper report. Since 2013, the government has collected more than four billion euros from the sale of "golden visas", he said.
This was reported by the british "guardian. The paper cites confidential documents it says it has been able to view. Hundreds of names were listed, including a former member of the russian parliament and the founders of a major ukrainian bank. Some of the super-rich would be suspected of corruption.
Cyprus was saved from bankruptcy in 2013 because of problems in its oversized banking sector only with the help of its euro partners and the international monetary fund (IMF). About seven billion euros flowed. Investors also had to contribute to the bailout with a forced levy, and strict austerity and reform measures were also imposed on the country. In 2016, the aid program ended.
The cypriot government confirmed that the EU state grants citizenship to citizens of third countries who invest large sums on the island. The reproaches that also under corruption suspicion investors from the ukraine or russia are under it, were not commented.
"We do not want to comment on these publications," cypriot government spokesman nikos christodoulides told deutsche presse-agentur on monday. "Convicted persons are excluded from this program from the outset," said a senior interior ministry official.
According to government sources, the citizenship program for investments is going very well, "as it is in many other EU countries. It’s nothing new." investors in portugal, ireland, greece, hungary, malta and bulgaria would also receive EU passports. The "golden visas" have been controversial for years, as they are, among other things, an entrance ticket to all EU countries – with the right to move freely there.
The EU commission urged that in order to acquire citizenship, there must be a genuine link between the applicant and the destination state. "National citizenships are a prerequisite for EU citizenship and the front door to EU treaty rights," said a spokesman. EU states should therefore exercise their prerogative to grant citizenship in a "spirit of cooperation" with other EU states. The brussels authority is in contact with the cypriot government on the matter.
Cypriot citizenship can be obtained by those who have paid in at least two million euros to establish a company. This must employ at least five EU citizens and have existed for five years prior to application. Another possibility is that the applicant has bought a property for at least 500,000 euros. In cyprus, 400 of these passes were issued last year alone, according to the guardian.