Cyprus Revokes Citizenship of Two Russian Oligarchs Amid Investigations

The Council of Ministers of Cyprus has decided to revoke the citizenship of two more Russian oligarchs who acquired their passports through the country’s now-defunct Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP). The decision comes amidst ongoing investigations into irregularities within the program that have led to hundreds of revocations.

The two individuals in question, Russian-Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin and Russian oligarch Igor Kesav, obtained their Cypriot citizenship during Demetris Christofias’s presidency from 2008 to 2013.

Both men have been subject to international sanctions due to their alleged involvement in various financial and political scandals.

Grigorishin, born in 1965, acquired his Cypriot passport in January 2011 and obtained Ukrainian citizenship in 2016. In November 2018, Russia imposed sanctions against 322 Ukrainian citizens, including Grigorishin.

Two years later, in November 2020, he was sentenced to prison for tax evasion of $18 million and ordered to pay $32 million in restitution.

Kesav, born in 1966 in North Ossetia, was naturalized as a Cypriot citizen on May 25, 2012. The European Union sanctioned him following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the United States also sanctions him as the head of the arms company Degtyaryov, which allegedly supplies separatists in eastern Ukraine, as reported by Cyprus Mail. Kesav is one of the names on the Forbes billionaires list, with a fortune of $3.1 billion.

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The decision to revoke Grigorishin and Kesav’s citizenship follows a series of investigations and charges filed by Cypriot authorities concerning the CIP.

In May 2024, Cyprus filed charges in approximately 100 cases involving “problematic” citizenship investors. These cases included individuals wanted for crimes such as fraud and those who failed to make the required investments or only pretended to have done so.

Since Cyprus terminated the program, the government has been working to address the shortcomings in its vetting procedures and revoked several high-profile individuals’ citizenship.

In June 2024, Malaysia officially revoked the citizenship of businessman Jho Low, whom authorities wanted in connection with the 1MDB scandal.

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Ahmad Abbas AdministratorAuthorSubscriberParticipant
Director of Content Services , Investment Migration Insider

Ahmad Abbas is Director of Content Services at Investment Migration Insider and an 8-year veteran of the investment migration industry.

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