However, following Al Jazeera’s investigations in the country a political scandal beganwhich led to the resignation of the Speaker of the Cypriot Parliament, Dimitris Silloris. The program has been suspended.
In August, Al Jazeera published an investigation into The Cyprus Papers. In it, she revealed the names of the Russians who received the so-called golden passports of Cyprus in 2017-2019 (obtaining citizenship in exchange for investment). Among the 2.5 thousand documents received by the publication, about 1 thousand concerned Russians.
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Later, the channel published materials filmed with a hidden camera, in which Silloris guaranteed a Chinese businessman accused of fraud, obtaining citizenship.
Pavel Rusetsky, Head of Practice of the Legal Division Rights Business Standard told RBC that after the closure of the Cypriot program, Russians can be attracted by Monaco or Malta, although they “cannot boast” such ease of obtaining citizenship and tax resident status as Cyprus. In addition, Malta officially discloses the details of all persons who have received passports.
CS Global Partners CEO Mika-Rose Emmett told RBC that the programs for obtaining citizenship of the Caribbean are gaining popularity among Russians due to their availability, reliability and visa-free regime. In particular, states such as Dominica and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Malta has been issuing so-called golden passports to foreigners since 2013.
In January, RBC studied the published on the official resource of the Maltese government list of personswho received the citizenship of this state in 2018. Among them are the full namesakes of the former member of the first hundred Forbes and ex-shareholder of AFK Sistema Alexander Gorbatovsky, the main owner of the Shokoladnitsa group of companies Alexander Kolobov, founder and chairman of the board of directors of the Guta group of companies Yuri Gushchin, founder and member of the board of directors of the chain Magnolia ”by Leonid Lunev (owns 31% of shares), ex-head of“ Transnefteproduct ”Mikhail Mezhentsev, former top manager of structures of Suleiman Kerimov, ex-general director of“ Nafta Moskva ”Alexander Mosionzhik.
In addition, the list included the full namesakes of the general director of Gamma Development, a member of the political council of the Kaliningrad regional branch of United Russia, Yuri Nakhodkin, and members of the board of directors of City Invest Bank Leonid Shorsher and Sergei Kamzin. Among those who received the citizenship of Malta were the chairman of the board of directors of the tea-packing company “May”, ex-deputy of the State Duma from “United Russia” Igor Lisinenko and his wife.
The list also includes the namesakes of Vasily Torkanovsky, partner of the Ivanyan & Partners law firm, and members of his family. In total, the “golden passports” of Malta, which has been a member of the EU since 2004, were acquired in 2018 by just over 3.5 thousand people.