Citizenship-for-Sale Scandal Heats Up as EU Threatens Lawsuits

(Bloomberg) — Malta and Cyprus were issued with legal ultimatums as the European Commission stepped up its crackdown on governments selling citizenship rights to live and work in the European Union.

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The two nations may have violated EU law by offering so-called golden passports, or access to their country’s nationality and EU citizenship, in return for a fee, the bloc’s executive authority said on Tuesday.

Their duo’s investor-citizenship programs may undermine “the integrity of the status of EU citizenship,” the commission said in a statement. Cyprus announced earlier this month it would end its current passport for investment program on Nov. 1.

“When a Member State awards nationality, the person concerned automatically becomes an EU citizen and enjoys all rights linked to this status” and “as a consequence, the effects of investor citizenship schemes are neither limited to the member states operating them,” the Commission said.

The speaker

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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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