Press release | Nov. 7, 2019

Time up for EU’s Golden Visa schemes

7th November 2019, London – Fresh news surrounding the Cypriot Golden Visa scheme has been met with calls for the EU to do more to scrap these schemes by anti-corruption watchdog Global Witness.

In recent weeks’ investigations by Reuters and Politis News alleged that relatives of Cambodia’s rulers and a central figure in the 1MDB scandal received access to the EU via Cypriot Golden Visas.

In response Cyprus has announced plans to revoke the citizenship of 26 individuals it had previously granted Golden Visas too, whilst news also claims that red flags were raised against recipients as far back as 2015.

Tina Mlinaric, Campaigner at Global Witness, said:

“On the face of it Cyprus revoking the Golden Visas of 26 individuals is a positive development but we have concerns that this is nothing more than a tokenistic gesture in the face of recent media reports of high risk individuals being granted such visas.”

“It underlines that even when background checks are being done suspicious wealth is still able to slip through the gaps, and that by their very nature Golden Visas are risky business.”

“Current moves by the European Commission and EU Governments are not enough, including the recent setting up of an expert group mandated to prepare suggestion on managing the risks associated with Golden Visas. This approach will likely have little respect from Member States, and much tougher legal action is required to force states to end these dodgy schemes.”



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