Cyprus keeps the names of people who applied for residency and European passports a secret even as the program shut down over scandals. He applied just before – or after – the scheme was stopped after it was reported rich foreign investors weren’t being properly vetting for criminal activity or money laundering, the island still notorious as a tax haven. At the time, the site Recode said that Schmidt was close to getting the permit and European passport in a program effectively selling them to anyone who wanted them although an independent panel probe has since found half were dubious. He applied during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that saw international travel limited or barred, largely being lifted now although health measures are still in force around the world.
Having a Cypriot residency allowed people to also have the valuable European passport in return for investing at least 2 million euros ($2.42 million) and be a legal resident even if they have no ties to the country or heritage. The scheme has mostly been used by rich Chinese and Russian oligarchs, who also have put a fortune into Cypriot banks, with no other reports of wealthy Americans applying.
For now, interest of US citizens to Citizenship by Investment Programs is on a high rise. Basically, Americans want to be able to visit Europe and travel to other destinations. For this purpose, they choose passport program of Montenegro and Caribbean countries. As for Cyprus – they still got Permanent residency program running. But note that Cyprus is not the member of Schengen zone, that means you may visit Cyprus and live there as a Permanent residency permit holder but cannot cross the EU boarders using this document.
It could also reap him personal tax breaks but Recode said it’s unclear why Schmidt, from Virginia, sought citizenship on Cyprus, but it could be because of business reasons or to have a financial backup plan during the pandemic.
The site Vox said that he could also take advantage of favorable tax rules on Cyprus and media reports in Cyprus said it was granted but a representative for him said there wouldn’t be any comment.
Nuri Katz, the founder of Apex Capital Partners and who has advised the Cypriot government on immigration matters, guessed that Schmidt “feels the need to diversify his citizenship.”
Source: The National Herald