NICOSIA – Cyprus has taken away Golden Visas that come with European Union passports from another four wealthy Russian investors under bloc sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine the island government was reluctant to impose.
That brought to eight the number of revoked passports from Russians with ties to President Vladimir Putin’s regime, identified by the bloc, the penalties also including barring Russian airlines and tourists who are a key market.
Passports would also be revoked from their families, deputy government spokeswoman Niovi Parisinou said in a written statement, reported Reuters. The names of the individuals were kept secret, no reason given as they had been identified by the EU, more than 1,000 across the bloc.
Cyprus gave citizenship to 2,886 Russian nationals, among them investors and their families, from 2007 to August 2020 in the visas that brought residency and the valued EU passports.
They were among 6,779 people who received citizenship from the east Mediterranean island for a minimum 2 million euro ($2.17 million) investment, the news agency also noted in its report.
A later commission of inquiry found that the scheme had failed to vet applicants for money laundering or criminal activity and that it was open to misuse, creating a scandal that led to it being shut down despite being staunchly defended by President Nicos Anastasiades.