Cyprus Citizenship for last applicants but European Commission threatens with court

The European Commission in June 2021 expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that Cyprus continues to process applications for Cyprus citizenship, which were “hung” under consideration. These applications were submitted before the official completion of the program in November 2020. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus reported that it could not refuse to consider applications due to possible legal consequences. In particular, investors could sue Cyprus, according to the Cypriot Foreign Ministry. For some, about 600 investors, as well as about 600 of their relatives, were awaiting consideration. Of this number, about 150-160 applications were eventually approved, the rest were rejected.

The Cypriot scheme was axed last November after an undercover Al Jazeera video showed former House president Demetris Syllouris and former Akel MP Christakis Giovanis offering help to an imaginary Chinese businessman with a criminal record to secure citizenship.

Both men were forced to resign amid a backlash over the apparent corruption in political life. The Commission however, launched infringement procedures against Cyprus after a string of damning reports that it had been granting passports to dubious individuals.

Even after terminating the programe, Cyprus continued to process the so-called pending applications, making its situation worse.

“While Cyprus has repealed its scheme and stopped receiving new applications on November 1, 2020, it continues processing pending applications,” the commission said in June this year, and has not allayed Brussels’ concerns over this.

An independent probe into the citizenship scheme found that 53 per cent of the 6,779 citizenships granted overall were unlawful and said politicians and institutions had political responsibilities while certain applicants and service providers may be held criminally liable. The probe covered the period between 2007, when the scheme was introduced, and August 2020 when the first Al Jazeera video was released.

The main difference between the Cyprus Citizenship  by Investments program and other such programs was the procedure for vetting candidates. Cyprus did not work with international independent due diligence contractors. This, of course, was the catalyst for the situation with distrust of the program and its subsequent closure.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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