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Economy

Scandalized Cyprus Not Tax Haven, Finance Minister Says

NICOSIA — Despite a scandal over selling residency permits and passports to rich foreigners without checking for criminal activity and a reputation for letting rich outsiders stash their money in banks on the island, Cyprus not a tax haven, Finance Minister Constantinos Petridis said.

He told CNBC that instead the island is simply a competitive investment destination, without mentioning the government allowed banks to seize 47.5 percent of deposits over 100,000 euros ($121,270) in 2013 to bail out banks.

“The Cypriot economy attracts global foreign investment due to its resilience, and this is something that has been proven since the financial crisis of 2013, Petridis said, also not noting many people had much of their life savings nearly wiped out.

Cyprus also has resisted a proposal by the G7 industrial nations to set a minimum 15 percent corporate tax – Cyprus' is set at 12.5 percent – and the government doesn't want anything interfering with its ability to lure rich foreigners.

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