Citizenship, Cyprus, European Union, Europe, Investment,

Cyprus has announced it is suspending its citizenship-by-investment program following reports of abuse of a system that gives wealthy passports and visa-free travel across the EU.

The suspension of the program in its current form will enter into force on November 1, government spokesman Kyriakos Kushos told reporters after an emergency meeting of the island’s government. With a minimum investment of € 2 million, the Cyprus scheme provides passports guaranteeing a visa-free regime in the European Union, which it joined in 2004, Reuters

Criticized as being opaque and fraught with the risk of money laundering, the scheme is popular among Russians, Ukrainians, and more recently, Chinese and Cambodians.

By law, a criminal record should disqualify a potential investor.

In October 2019, Reuters reported that Cambodians close to longtime leader Hun Sen and family members had acquired passports, prompting authorities to revise the program.

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