The Golden Passport Scheme in Cyprus "must stop and cannot be healed"
My latest piece for International Policy Digest, about MEPs' reactions to the 'golden passport' scandal in Cyprus.
It follows a recently published independent commission report on the sale of so-called “golden passports” by Cyprus. The commission was led by Myron Nicolatos, the former chief justice of Cyprus, and concluded that around half of the nearly 7,000 passports issued under the scheme were issued illegally.
According to sources, the commission reviewed a sample of 6,647 passports issued under the scheme and found that in 860 cases, illegalities were so serious that these passports should be canceled, and Cypriot citizenship revoked.
German MEP, Sven Giegold (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance), said in an exclusive interview with me: “Cyprus must stop issuing these passports, regardless of when the application was made [i.e. even if before the scheme closed to new applicants]. Cyprus must end the whole process and stop believing that the scheme can be healed.”
The news of the scale of the passport scandal in Cyprus comes before a District Court in Limassol, Cyprus, which will on Friday hear the next stage in a remarkable Russian banking fraud case concerning the collapse and rescue of the Russian bank, Promsvyazbank (known as PSB), which was controlled by brothers and oligarchs, Dmitri and Alexei Ananyev. PSB had large operations in Cyprus.
(Disclosure: the author is an advisor to one of the parties in this case and has written about the case with his client's permission.)