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Cyprus is experiencing an influx of investments, despite the country introducing stricter requirements for its so-called golden passport program, under which rich investors can acquire citizenship in exchange for investments, Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades told Sputnik on Thursday

 

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Earlier in February, the island nation introduced stricter eligibility rulesfor their "golden passport" program, depriving investors whose applications were rejected earlier by other EU countries of citizenship opportunities. The measure was approved just a month after an EU report recommended that Cyprus abolish the controversial program, arguing that foreign nationals might acquire citizenship in order to launder money or avoid paying taxes.

"On the contrary, what we are seeing is the influx of investments, which are real investments. So no more shell companies with only registered offices.

So real investments with real presence. This is what we are aiming for and this is what we are seeing," Georgiades said, asked if new rules affected investment in the country.

The minister stressed that the new regulations did not target investors from any particular countries.

"We all have to operate under rules and regulations which are different, a bit more demanding, but this does not mean that it is a signal against foreign investments or against Russian investments. We are open for Russian business as much as we are open to any foreign business within a very credible regulatory framework," Georgiades emphasized.

Investor citizenship schemes are in place in about 20 EU countries. However, Cyprus, along with Bulgaria and Malta, has less strict eligibility rules and does not have any requirements regarding physical residence or any other genuine connections with the country.

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