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Revoking golden passports to Russians ‘impossible’

Revoking golden passports to Russians ‘impossible’


The EU’s recommendation to member countries to revoke passports issued to Russian and Belarusian oligarchs on the bloc’s sanctions list puts Cyprus in an awkward position.

Lawyers warn that if Cyprus revokes citizenship granted to Russians under the now-defunct citizenship-for-investment scheme, the republic could be held liable through the courts, paying millions in compensation.

The EU demanded that all member states cease all CIS programs and cancel any residency incentive plans to attract Russian or Belarusian investors.

Lawyer Achilles Emilianides said that the renunciation of citizenship is a matter of national law, noting that the deprivation of citizenship is justified only if it is obtained through deceit, false representation and concealment of facts.

As for the sanctions imposed on the Russians, he said that they are economic and have nothing to do with citizenship, stressing that the EU has no right to deprive people of citizenship.

Another lawyer, Andreas Angelides, noted that it is not easy to revoke citizenship, and victims will file lawsuits demanding millions of dollars in compensation.

He argued that Cyprus should indicate to Brussels that the passports issued to Russian investors were legally issued and cannot be revoked without violating the laws of the republic.Christos Clerides, President of the Cyprus Bar Association, said that the Republic of Cyprus is not obligated to revoke the citizenship granted to Russians whose names are included in the EU sanctions list, as these are recommendations, not regulations or directives.

Clerides said the impression that all citizenships granted under this investment program should be revoked was wrongly created.

Golden Passport Violation Process

He noted that the EU recommendations regarding the Russians included in the sanctions list have nothing to do with the process of violating the EU against Cyprus in relation to its “golden passport” scheme.

According to the EU recommendation, Member States should conduct an assessment to decide whether to revoke citizenship previously granted to citizens of Russia or Belarus who are subject to sanctions.

When making assessments, Member States should take into account the principles established by the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the loss of EU citizenship.

They must also immediately revoke or refuse to renew a residence permit issued under the residence permit program to investors from Russian or Belarusian citizens who are subject to EU sanctions in connection with the war in Ukraine, after evaluation.

Meanwhile, the process of violation of Cyprus by Brussels is still ongoing.

The European Commission has launched a case against the republic for its “passport for cash” scheme.In November 2020, the Mediterranean island abandoned the passport scheme after Al Jazeera aired a documentary in which reporters posed as collaborators of a Chinese businessman trying to obtain a Cypriot passport despite having a criminal record.

A public inquiry found that the government broke the law countless times by granting citizenship to more than 6,700 people between 2007 and 2020.

The exposé report states that more than half (53%) of the 6,779 issued passports were illegally issued, encouraged by a lack of due diligence or insufficient background checks.

The Cyprus Passport Scheme has generated more than 8 billion euros during its existence since 2007.

Source and photo:, Editor

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