‘Passports for sale’: EU takes legal action against Cyprus and Malta

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s executive said on Tuesday it was launching legal action against Cyprus and Malta over their investor citizenship programmes that are sometimes referred to as “golden passport” schemes.

The European Commission said in a statement that the decision was taken because the two member states granted nationality – and thereby EU citizenship – in exchange for a pre-determined payment or investment and without a genuine link with the country concerned.

“There cannot be a weak link in EU efforts to curb corruption and money laundering. EU passports cannot be for sale,” Values and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova said on Twitter after the announcement by the European Commission.

Malta, with a population of 420,000,

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Cyprus House speaker quits over citizenship for sale scandal

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ parliamentary speaker has resigned after an undercover news report allegedly caught him on tape promising to help circumvent the country’s rules on granting citizenship to foreign investors.



A demonstrator takes a  mock copy of Cyprus passport during a demonstration against corruption outside of the conference center in the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Protesters called for the resignation of Cyprus' Parliamentary Speaker Demetris Syllouris amid corruption allegations involving the country's now defunct citizenship-for-investment program. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)


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A demonstrator takes a mock copy of Cyprus passport during a demonstration against corruption outside of the conference center in the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Protesters called for the resignation of Cyprus’ Parliamentary Speaker Demetris Syllouris amid corruption allegations involving the country’s now defunct citizenship-for-investment program. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Demetris Syllouris had initially decided to stay on as speaker but abstain from his duties until investigations ran their course.

Syllouris, who had a 28-year record of service as a lawmaker, said Thursday he had not wanted to quit because it would appear as if he was guilty.

“I maintain my resolute conviction that I did not violate the law in

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