Cyprus Toughens Vetting for Investment-for-Passport Scheme

FILE - An aircraft takes off from Larnaca airport past the control tower, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at the southern coastal city of Larnaca, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA (AP) — Cyprus’ finance minister says the government has toughened up vetting procedures for applicants hoping to be granted a Cypriot passport under the country’s investors’ naturalization scheme.

Harris Georgiades said Tuesday the new procedures will be “stricter and more credible.” The number of passports granted under the scheme will be capped at 700 a year.
He said that on top of the scrutiny Cypriot authorities currently put applications through, foreign agencies will also carry out “exhaustive checks” to ensure the suitability of any applicant.

Georgiades conceded that there may have been “weaknesses” to procedures under the previous rules. But he rejected the notion that “the Cypriot passport is up for sale” and dismissed previous media reports making similar insinuations.