Russian high-net-worth individuals are among those capitalising on a scheme offering Cypriot, and therefore EU, citizenship in exchange for an investment in the country.
Following the collapse of their banking system in 2013, the Cypriot government relaxed rules on thresholds for becoming a citizen. An investment of two million euros in property or 2.5 million euros invested in companies or government bonds can now open the door within six months.
The move brought in around four billion euros of foreign investment last year alone, according to a report by Bloomberg, almost a quarter of Cyprus’s national output. Around 2,000 passports have been issued under the scheme with around half going to Russians.
Aside from the effective sale of EU citizenship, concerns have been raised that the Cypriot arrangement increases the options for those wishing to avoid taxes and to hide assets.
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