Four more Russian billionaires lose Cypriot nationality following EU sanctions
Authorities in Nicosia have announced that four more Russian billionaires will lose their citizenship in Cyprus, acquired under the Golden Passport scheme, after being blacklisted by the EU following sanctions imposed by the latter on Russia in because of the invasion of Ukraine.
In this regard, Deputy Government Spokesperson Niovi Parisinou noted in a statement in April that a total of 11 family members of Russian billionaires would lose their citizenship in such a decision, according to Radio Free Europe, reports SchengenVisaInfo. com.
In accordance with Cypriot government policy, the names of those affected by the recent decision have not been published; however, according to local media, on April 21, Russian tycoons Oleg Deripaska as well as Igor Kesayev; the owner of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper and the RBK media, Grigory Beryozkin; and Gulbakhor Ismailova, a sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, have been affected by the recent decision by the Cypriot authorities.
The four Russian billionaires, along with their family members, acquired Cypriot citizenship through the latter’s Golden Passport program which allowed international investors to hold Cypriot passports, provided they invest a specific amount and meet several conditions .
However, after a report by Al Jazeera, which revealed that some of the Cypriot authorities were using the program which grants citizenship and visa-free travel to EU countries to those who invest at least 2 million euros, Cyprus closed its Golden Passport Program in 2020.
Yet last week, local media in Cyprus revealed that four other Russian billionaires, Mikhail Gutseriyev, Aleksandr Ponomarenko, Vadim Moshkovich and Aleksei Kuzmichyov, will also lose Cypriot citizenship, acquired under the Golden Passport scheme.
The war in Ukraine provoked by Russia’s large-scale invasion of the latter led the authorities of European Union member states to impose severe sanctions on Russia.
In addition, as part of the sanctions, the European Commission has previously called on EU states operating citizenship-by-investment as well as residency-by-investment programs to screen all Russian and Belarusian beneficiaries of these programs and ensure that they are not part of the EU list. sanctions related to the war in Ukraine.
The European Commission’s appeal to authorities in EU countries came after an assessment that some Russian or Belarusian nationals who hold EU citizenship or residence rights under their citizenship-by-investment programs or residence by investment could support the invasion of Ukraine.
“The Commission urges Member States to immediately repeal all existing investor citizenship schemes and ensure that strong controls are in place to address the risks posed by investor residency schemes,” a March 28 press release noted this.
In addition, it has been reported that due to the war in Ukraine, the following European countries have suspended the golden visa program, which allows third-country nationals to acquire residency in EU countries that manage such programs, Greece, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Malta.