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Council of Ministers Revokes Citizenship from Russian Oligarchs

russian oligarchs golden passport scheme

The Cypriot government revoked citizenship from two Russian oligarchs in the “golden passport” program due to blacklisting and security concerns, amidst calls for stricter regulations. These moves reflect growing scrutiny over citizenship-by-investment schemes to prevent misuse and ensure transparency in such programs.

Why has the Cypriot government revoked citizenship from Russian oligarchs?

The Cypriot government withdrew citizenship from two Russian oligarchs involved in the “golden passport” program due to them being blacklisted and amidst security concerns and international calls for stricter regulations on citizenship-by-investment schemes. These revocations reflect growing scrutiny over such programs and the need for transparency to prevent misuse.

Golden Passport Scheme Under Scrutiny

Following a recent cabinet meeting, the Cypriot government has made the move to withdraw citizenship from two individuals previously involved in the country’s “golden passport” program. This decision was particularly targeted at two Russian oligarchs who received passports during the tenure of former Cypriot President Demetris Christofias from 2008 to 2013. These revocations come amidst heightened security concerns and international calls for stricter regulations on citizenship-by-investment programs.

The individuals in question were found to have been blacklisted, prompting the government’s decision. The golden passport scheme has been a topic of international debate, as it allows wealthy individuals to acquire citizenship in exchange for significant investments in the country.

Profiles of the Oligarchs

The first individual facing the revocation of his Cypriot citizenship is Konstantin Grigorishin, born on November 16, 1965. Known as a billionaire and art collector, Grigorishin has substantial business interests in Ukraine. His wealth originated from the metal trade during the late 1980s and has since expanded to include ownership stakes in various industrial enterprises. Notably, Grigorishin is a major shareholder in the Energy Standard Group and has been implicated in legal challenges, including a high-profile tax evasion case resulting in prison time and substantial restitution payments.

Igor Kesaev, born on October 30, 1966, is the second individual affected by the Cypriot cabinet’s decision. As a prominent Russian businessman, Kesaev’s significant influence extends into the tobacco industry and the defense sector through his headship of the arms company Degtyaryov. His connection to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and affiliation with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) through the Monolith Foundation have put him under the international spotlight, particularly following sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States.

International Implications

The golden passport scheme has been a point of contention not only for Cyprus but for other countries as well that offer similar citizenship-by-investment options. The European Union has been particularly vocal about its concerns, pushing for greater transparency and regulation to prevent the misuse of these programs for money laundering or other illicit activities. The sanctions against these Russian oligarchs serve as a reminder of the geopolitical tensions at play and the financial practices that can sometimes intersect with international relations.

The revocation of these golden passports is indicative of a broader shift in policy as governments reassess their citizenship programs in response to global pressures. While these investments can provide significant revenue for host countries, the need for careful vetting and adherence to international standards is becoming increasingly clear.

Why has the Cypriot government revoked citizenship from Russian oligarchs?

The Cypriot government withdrew citizenship from two Russian oligarchs involved in the “golden passport” program due to them being blacklisted and amidst security concerns and international calls for stricter regulations on citizenship-by-investment schemes. These revocations reflect growing scrutiny over such programs and the need for transparency to prevent misuse.

Who are the two Russian oligarchs whose citizenship was revoked?

The individuals affected by the revocation of their Cypriot citizenship are Konstantin Grigorishin and Igor Kesaev. Grigorishin is a billionaire with business interests in Ukraine, while Kesaev is a prominent businessman with influence in the tobacco industry and the defense sector.

What is the “golden passport” program in Cyprus?

The “golden passport” program in Cyprus allows wealthy individuals to acquire citizenship in exchange for significant investments in the country. This program has faced scrutiny due to concerns about transparency, security risks, and potential misuse for illicit activities such as money laundering.

What are the international implications of the revocation of citizenship from Russian oligarchs?

The revocation of citizenship from Russian oligarchs in Cyprus has international implications, highlighting the need for greater transparency and regulation in citizenship-by-investment programs. The European Union, in particular, has been vocal about the risks associated with these schemes and has called for stricter measures to prevent misuse.

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