Cyprus probes granted golden passports for Cambodian elite after backlash

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Cyprus probes granted golden passports for Cambodian elite after backlashCyprus has had a residency-for-sale investment plan in place since 2013, under which a minimum 2-million-euro ($2.2 million) investment can purchase a passport and visa-free travel throughout the EU

Its lenient Golden Visa program under fire, Cyprus will investigate how relatives of Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen were able to buy citizenship and take away their European Union passports if necessary, officials said, according to thenationalherald.com.

A Reuters investigation earlier found that family members and allies of Sen, have overseas assets worth tens of millions of dollars and have used their wealth to buy foreign citizenship, although he had said that was an unpatriotic act.

Cyprus government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the government would review citizenship granted to eight relatives and persons close to the Cambodian leaders, the news agency added in a follow-up.

Cyprus has had a residency-for-sale investment plan in place since 2013, under which a minimum 2-million-euro ($2.2 million) investment can purchase a passport and visa-free travel throughout the EU but it has been criticized for not properly vetting applicants for money laundering or criminal activity being hidden under that guise.

In the five years between the inception of the citizenship scheme and 2018, the Cypriot government approved 1,864 citizenship applications. Including family members, the number was more than 3,200, the news agency said.

The European Commission warned in a January report that what it called “golden passports” could help organized crime groups infiltrate Europe and raised the risk of money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion.

 RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Jon Rawlinson

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