An investigation is underway after foreign investors were granted a so-called “golden passport” for Cyprus.
The government will investigate whether these investors met the passport scheme’s eligibility criteria.
Associated Press reports Cypriot passports have drawn wide interest, especially from wealthy individuals, because holders also become citizens of the European Union.
The EU issued a report earlier this year, warning Cyprus and other countries to beef up background checks before awarding the passports.
Concerns are rife that people from outside the EU are obtaining these passports to launder money and contravene tax laws.
Cyprus is now investigating the circumstances under which relatives of Cambodia’s prime minister were granted citizenship.
A Reuters investigation has revealed that family members and allies of Hun Sen have overseas assets worth tens of millions of dollars, and have used their wealth to buy foreign citizenship.
One relative reportedly obtained citizenship because she was deemed “financially dependent” on her mother, only months after spending £5.5 million on an apartment in London.
Associated Press reports the Cypriot “golden passport” scheme has generated approximately €7 billion since its inception following a 2013 financial crisis that brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.
The scheme requires that investors must put at least €2 million into real estate or a Cyprus-based business.