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July 14, 2020

Cyprus CBI programme reforms continue

The Cypriot government continues to announce reforms to its citizenship by investment programme.

Following a temporary freeze on the Cyprus citizenship by investment program in January,
the government recently re-started discussions on tightening criteria and is considering a
series of reforms, with Cypriot MPs suggesting they are committed to fast-tracking bills
concerning the CBI programme and will vote on the regulations before summer recess in
late July.

Up for discussion and ultimately approval are regulations that have been created to
strengthen the country’s current CBI programme due diligence processes, ensuring more
stringent screening processes and formalising the process of withdrawing citizenship from
investors who commit criminal offences.

In the past, under the current regulations, Cyprus has been unable to revoke certain
citizenships due to legal technicalities. This has drawn criticism from European political
bodies, in particular, and the Cypriot government has been reviewing and updating the
regulations of its CBI programme over the past two years.

Earlier this month, the government approved a new set of regulations for its CBI program
that included tying the programme to anti-money laundering legislation.

The new and simpler regulations would give the Cypriot government the authority it needs
to revoke the citizenship of investors who are convicted of serious crimes (those that
warrant a sentence of five years or more in prison) or those who appear on the wanted list
of Europol or Interpol after gaining citizenship.

Of the new regulations, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris says: “These regulations reinforce in
the best possible way the credibility of the investment scheme, while the key provisions
relate mostly to linking the scheme to anti-money laundering laws.

“The candidates are carefully vetted when they apply, and the providers for the candidates
are also vetted. Once the candidates are approved, their conduct as residents in Cyprus is
reviewed each year for 10 years, and if they break our laws to engage in other undesirable
activities, the passport can be revoked.”

According to the Cyprus Mail, a further reform up for discussion is the re-insertion of a
clause that had previously allowed investors to include their parents-in-law in their
applications. A proposal on the table suggests an additional investment fee of €500,000 per
additional person included in the application. This would include parents-in-law and perhaps
other dependents.

CBI Guide citizenship by investment