Cyprus and Malta have faced money laundering charges for many years. These two countries played the leading role in many reports of money laundering of unknown origin, mostly from Russian citizens. Although the EU warned them many times to stop this, money laundering continued through the sale of “golden passports” to the two island countries, and the money flowing continued to be laundered.
This order was broken with the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Because the EU signed harsh sanctions against Russia and took sanctions against Russian companies, Russian businessmen and their goods.
“Golden Passport” protection against black money
Greek Cypriot Administration and Malta, which were in a difficult situation after these decisions, have deprived dozens of people of their citizenships obtained through “golden passports” so far.
The EU Commission said that the Greek Cypriot Administration revoked the citizenship of 43 people. It was also reported that two Russians lost Maltese citizenship.
Malta and the Greek Cypriot Administration of Cyprus have been earning significant income by offering citizenship for investment for years. Russia, on the other hand, uses this route to launder money.
The Greek Cypriot Administration is one of the EU members who earn the most income from the “golden passport” application.
The Maltese government has announced that it is suspending the issuance of such passports to Russian and Belarusian citizens until a future date, but it still provides “golden passports” to citizens of other countries. The Greek Cypriot Administration announced that since November 2020, citizenship has not been granted in this way.
EU calls remained unanswered
The EU Commission has repeatedly called for an end to “golden passports”.
The EU Commission sees this as a threat to the security of the entire EU. For example, they find it risky in terms of money laundering, tax avoidance and corruption. In addition, the fact that “golden passport” holders can move freely in the Schengen area worries the union.