The Cyprus Papers
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained a leak of documents revealing that almost 2,500 people paid to become Cypriot citizens between 2017 and 2019.
With applicants from more than 70 nations, each required to make a 2-million-euro (approximately $2.5m) investment to qualify, Cyprus’s “golden passport” scheme reveals how citizenship of a small EU nation has become a commodity for the global super-rich.
Cyprus Investment Programme applicants by country
Some documents reveal details of sponsors and other passport holders who acquired Cypriot citizenship before 2017.
Analysis by the Investigative Unit found that at least 60 people who bought passports between 2017 and 2019 would have been rejected as “high-risk” according to the rules that exist in Cyprus today.
The rules have tightened in recent years in response to critics who want the scheme shut down. The EU says it is a back door into Europe for criminals and dirty money.
Here is a timeline of how the laws changed
2013 – 2019 CRIMINALS NEED NOT APPLY
2019 NEW RULES
2020 LAWS TO STRIP CITIZENSHIP
Discover The Cyprus Papers
Out of some 2,500 names in The Cyprus Papers, we have created 100 profiles you can look at below.
They include convicted criminals, oligarchs on the run from the law, and government officials. We have only published the names of individuals when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing or if the person was a PEP at the time they obtained citizenship. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the PEPs listed in the Cyprus Papers.
Each profile contains links to original documents, stamped and signed as their passports were approved.
The profiles can be filtered according to four options.
- • All Profiles – 100 profiles, including named “high-risk” individuals and redacted profiles.
- • High-risk – Limits the list to 60 named profiles that are categorised as “high-risk” according to the criteria set out in the 2019 rules.
- • Politically exposed – 35 Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) whose applications put the Cyprus Investment Programme at risk from political corruption.
- • Redacted profiles – These profiles have had their names redacted. They conform to the laws that currently regulate the scheme. They have been included to show its appeal among a global elite that includes at least 15 billionaires.
Explaining the symbols
Each profile card contains icons that give a visual indication of common attributes among the applicants. Hovering over icons brings up the following explanations.
|Our analysis indicates this applicant would have been rejected according to current rules on criminal investigations or prosecutions.|
|The applicant is currently in prison or has served time in jail.|
|The applicant is on a sanctions list or holds a top position in a sanctioned entity.|
|Application approval coincides with investigations, legal action or sanctions against the individual.|
|A Politically Exposed Person (PEP) is an individual who has been entrusted with an official public function or is related to individuals who have served in state roles. They are considered a high risk of corruption and money laundering. Until July 2019, there were no bans on PEPs becoming Cypriot citizens. Then Cyprus introduced a rule, requiring PEPs to be out of office for at least five years. As of July 2020, the rules have been relaxed, requiring just one year out of office.|
|This applicant is estimated to have a net worth in excess of $1bn.|
|High Net Worth, meaning the applicant is estimated to have a fortune above $100m.|
|This applicant also successfully acquired passports for family members.|
|Application is one of several from the same company.|
Click on a country and name to get more information
High-riskPolitically exposedRedacted profiles