CITIZENSHIP AND RESIDENCY: Cyprus & Malta Revoke Golden Passports of Several Russian & Belarusian Nationals.

As published on schengenvisainfo.com, Monday 15 May, 2023.

Dozens of Russian and Belarusian nationals will no longer be eligible to benefit from their golden passports granted in Cyprus and Malta after authorities in both these countries have decided to revoke these documents from them.

The decision comes after wealthy nationals from the countries mentioned above were subject to the European Union sanctions lists; thus, the golden passports, acquired through Cyprus and Malta’s Golden Passport scheme, no longer can be used, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

According to a TVR report, authorities in Cyprus stripped citizenships of nine investors from Russia as well as a total of 34 members of the families acquired through the Citizenship by Investment scheme, while Maltese authorities revoked the golden passports of two people.

The FDP MEP Mortiz Korner welcomed the decision taken by these two European countries while stressing that those who profit from the policies of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin must feel the consequences.

“Russians and Belarusians who end up on the EU sanctions list do not deserve EU citizenship,” Korner pointed out, according to Der Spiegel’s report.

The Golden Passport scheme introduced in many European countries gives non-EU citizens a path to citizenship if they contribute financially to the respective state and meet the required conditions.

However, the program has often been accused of being involved in illicit affairs such as corruption, tax evasion and money laundering, thus urged by EU authorities to terminate this scheme as soon as possible.

In addition, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU agreed to limit the granting of Golden Passports for Russians, especially for nationals of Russia and Belarus, subject to EU sanctions.

Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, Didier Reynders, in March last year said that the European values are not for sale while considering that the sale of citizenship through the Citizenship by Investment scheme is unlawful under the European Union law and it poses a significant security risk.

“All Member States concerned should end their investor citizenship schemes immediately. In addition, they should assess whether they should revoke any ‘golden passports’ already granted to sanctioned individuals and others significantly supporting Putin’s war,” Reynders pointed out.

The Golden Passport program conducted in Cyprus permitted wealthy foreigners to acquire citizenship in this country if they made a financial investment of at least €2.5 million. The scheme, which brought about €9.7 for a period from 2007 until 2020, was terminated following reports of its involvement in illegal acts.

According to the Probe report, from 2007 until 2020, a total of 6,779 Cypriot citizenships were granted through this program.

As for Malta, the European Commission last year confirmed that it would take the country to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) following its involvement in illegal affairs.

Besides, in March this year, it was reported that a fund that administers hundreds of millions of euros that were brought to the country from the Citizenship by Investment scheme still didn’t make its audited accounts for 2021 public.

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