The European Commission strictly advised Nicosia, following Sofia and Valletta, to take a closer look at those who sheltered: were there any money launderers and undermining the security of the European Union. The Cypriots, who had already managed to earn at least 7 billion euros in the sale of citizenship, were horrified publicly, through the media, and decided to pick up several passports. The first list for departure includes nine people from Russia. Local media announced that citizenship could deprive Oleg Deripaska, as well as two top Mosnarbank top managers - Vladimir Stolyarenko and Alexander Bondarenko with family members.
Tickling for Deripaska
The appearance in the public field of precisely these names, according to the director of the Center for Political Studies of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Pavel Salin, is a demonstration of the possibilities. Russia is now expected to take some steps in the foreign policy arena, but there are not so many tools to put pressure on the Russian elites. The main thing is to show that they do exist.
“The Russian elite is made clear that not only Deripaska is in the sights of Western inspection bodies, but even players who, as they themselves believe, are well reinsured with the help of legal instruments,” the political scientist says. “They can get hit from ... to ..."
However, Pavel Salin strongly doubts the effectiveness of this intimidation: “When sanctions were imposed on Russian business in 2014, there were expectations in the West that business would somehow begin to put pressure on the government or play against it. But Russian business is mortally afraid of the authorities, and after the pressure from the security forces intensified in recent years, it has become even more deadly, ”the political scientist believes.
That is why the threat of expropriation of assets did not work. The oligarchs silently part with the houses arrested in London and bank accounts frozen in Switzerland.
Thus, from a political point of view, the Cyprus scandal will not have any consequences. While from the hardware point of view, the “golden passport” turns into a trump ace, from which they will come when a competitor from the business or the same security forces wants to put pressure on a businessman to induce him to leave the business on more favorable terms for them .
In general, such an instrument comes from the usual arsenal of Russian special services. To understand where the signal comes from - from Russia or from the West - experts recommend that you carefully look at the defendants in the scandal and their assets. The mention of the name of Oleg Deripaska in this case indicates more likely a western trace. However, for Deripaska himself, after a significant part of his assets was actually seized from him, this kind of plum is not even an injection, but a tickle.
Obviously, the Russian special services have a daddy for every person involved in the Russian business elite, but not everyone becomes a criminal case or gets into the media. The same thing with the "golden passports" - these bases for Western intelligence agencies are almost completely open. The question is when will the political decision to play this card appear.
The Russians, who are planning to strip away the crusts, are in the company of Koreans, Cambodians, Kenyans, Iranians and Malays.
Vladimir Shalaev, a lawyer at BMS Law Firm, is inclined to link the revocation of passports with existing claims against these persons by the European Union and the United States.
“If a person is involved in the violation of human rights, this is an important reason for the Cypriot authorities to think about depriving a person of the citizenship of his country, especially if this citizenship is actually purchased,” emphasizes Vladimir Shalaev. - Of course, this is also a political move, showing the rest of the countries that Cyprus is ready to comply with the requirements of the sanctions. But it’s hardly worth considering this as a sign for the beginning of the mass withdrawal of passports, since this measure will affect only a small number of people and will not significantly affect business relations with the Cypriot authorities. ”
As of the end of 2017 (no more recent official statistics), Cyprus passports have been received by more than 5.5 thousand foreigners. , 24%, - Russians. In just one year, 1.3 thousand compatriots acquired a second passport. It is interesting that in second place in line for Cypriot citizenship are residents of Britain, in third - Ukraine.
Among the holders of island passports are Russian billionaires Dmitry Ananyev, Dmitry Rybolovlev, Alexander Abramov, Alexander Ponomarenko, Nikita Mishin, Leonid Lebedev and Oleg Deripaska.
The Russians, according to Konstantin Sinyushin, a venture investor, do not want to go the long way - to move to a country whose citizenship they want to obtain, live there for five or another years with a residence permit, and then obtain citizenship. “Everyone is looking for how to buy something without straining.”
The number of such Russians, judging by opinion polls and statistics, is growing. But none of them should have illusions: “foggy” offshore companies, from where there is no extradition, are in the past. However, Delaware now looks the most attractive - the American “offshore offshore”, which does not yet appear in scandals. There is even an opinion that the activity of American special services in other parts of the world in the withdrawal of capital from the shadows is aimed at transferring all oligarchs to their jurisdiction.
The procedure for deprivation of citizenship is not final and can be appealed by each person on appeal. Can Deripaska and other individuals return the “golden passport”?
The head of Bengala Investment, Alexei Buyanov, believes no: the government of Cyprus carefully checks all the information before being deprived - which means that the Cypriot side has enough reasons. Farewell, visa-free and simplified access to 150 countries and tax preferences. According to Alexei Buyanov, the deprivation of the "golden passport" threatens the defendants with the fact that they can no longer acquire citizenship of any other country within the EU, and will also face severe restrictions from European banks.