Cyprus to cancel citizenship for investment program

Cypriot authorities are discontinuing the issuance of citizenship to foreigners investing in the country after several investigations that point to numerous abuses under the program. The decision was made after an emergency government meeting, the president of Cyprus said. The initiative was started by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Finance.

According to the new rules, it will be possible to become a participant of the program and obtain citizenship until the end of October this year, after which it will be closed. Earlier any person who was ready to invest from EUR 2.2 million could count on the EU passport. In particular, this amount could be used to buy a home or invest in a local company or investment fund in Cyprus. There were more than a thousand Russians among the buyers of citizenship.

The recent Al-Jazeera investigation claims that among the Cyprus passport owners are billionaire Oleg Deripaska, the former owner of “Uralkali” Dmitry Rybolovlev, co-owner of Evraz Alexander Abramov and co-owner of Sheremetyevo airport Alexander Ponomarenko, as well as many other businessmen – a total of 39 Russians in the list. After the publication of this story, the country’s authorities initiated the inspection of all issued “golden passports” for the 18 years of the program.

Earlier Russia began to revise double taxation agreements after the March appeal of President Vladimir Putin. He considered taxes for companies from offshore jurisdictions at rates below personal income tax unfair.