Cyprus Has Revoked 222 CBI-Origin Citizenships – So Far

The Cypriot government has so far revoked 222 citizenships from individuals who originally became citizens through the country’s erstwhile Citizenship by Investment Program, government spokeswoman Niovi Parisinou told local reporters yesterday.

The rescinded citizenships pertain to 63 main applicants and 159 of their family members. The revocation proceedings have been ongoing since October 2021. Though the affected investors will receive no compensation for their loss of citizenship, they will not be deprived of their principal investment, typically prime real estate.

Following Al-Jazeera’s exposure of the Cyprus citizenship scandal in November 2020 – which prompted the cancellation of the program, sparked criminal investigations, and left applications worth EUR 1.5 billion pending – the government mandated an independent review of the program. It found that as many as 3,609 citizenships (53% of the total granted under the program) had been “unlawfully” naturalized because legal provisions that would enable the granting of citizenships to dependents had been lacking.

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Moreover, a number of citizenships issued to even to main applicants (as many as a third) were also unlawful because the investors had obtained them without fully adhering to the program’s requirements. The independent commission, at the time, recommended citizenship revocation in the case of 85 identified main applicants, who, it said, had likely committed criminal offenses to obtain their passports, such as by providing false statements or documents.

At the time of the program’s November 2020 termination, 1,417 applications (691 from main applicants, the rest from their dependents) remained unprocessed. Upon completing its review of the cases on hand a year later, Cyprus rejected all but a quarter of the applications.

More revocations are likely to follow.