KOUZALIS LLC, International Law Firm analyses the proposed changes to the Cyprus Investment Programme due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Cypriot government has decided to speed up the processing of several pending applications for citizenship by investment because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The decision for the expedition of the processing of these applications has been listed alongside with a bundle of fiscal and other measures announced under the intention to restart the Cyprus economy with an aim to keep businesses afloat and increase liquidity into the market which has been widely affected by the pandemic.

Although the changes to the Programme have not yet been passed by the Cyprus Parliament but have been proposed by the Ministry of Interior and mainly adopt the recommendations of the three-member committee appointed by the Government for the programme. The differences suggested through the regulations, will mainly concern the procedure, and not the amount of investment, in an effort to safeguard the Cyprus Investment Programme.

The main suggestion is to connect the procedures with the anti-money laundering regulations in order to verify the origin of the investor’s money. The three-member committee of the programme, also, proposed that only those who fall under the anti-money laundering law and are supervised should be included in the service providers list.

  1. Kouzalis LLC, Cyprus Lawyers, confirm that it has also been proposed that investors who intend to invest under the said programme should be classified as high-risk, in order to undergone enhanced due to diligence procedures by the service providers as to control the investor’s money and data. In this regard, it is also expected to be clarified by the new regulations whether politically exposed individuals could apply for naturalization taking into consideration that all due diligence checks have been implied as a high-risk category.

In addition, it has also been suggested to include in the financial criteria other investments, such as projects related to the environment and to small and medium-sized enterprises. The three-member committee proposed that the provision of false statements or documents by the investor should be considered as a criminal offence and that an amendment should be proposed so that the competent authorities have the opportunity to assess the investor after granting citizenship and to revoke the naturalisation when there are sufficient reasons.

In order to find out more information about the proposed changes to the Cyprus Investment Programme due to the Covid-19 pandemic please contact your International property specialists, G. KOUZALIS LLC.