Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska received the citizenship of Cyprus. This was reported on March 2 by the Center for the Study of Corruption and Organized Crime (OCCRP) and The Guardian referring to the documents of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Cyprus, which were at the disposal of journalists.
The representative of the businessman confirmed this information, explaining that the passport of the EU country is used for "constant movement around the world", which means "a wide range of business interests" Deripaska.
It is reported that Deripaska applied for the citizenship of Cyprus twice. The first request of 2016 was rejected because of an investigation into money laundering in Belgium, of which the businessman was a figurant; Deripaska provided the Cyprus authorities with a certificate that the investigation was closed. In 2017, he filed a new request.
It follows from documents that the Cypriot authorities offered citizenship to businessman Viktor Vekselberg, a shareholder of the Bank of Cyprus, but he probably refused it.
The documents show that the Cyprus scheme of the "golden visa" remains an important source of income for the island, which brought him at least 4.8 billion euros. Since 2008, Cyprus has granted citizenship to 1,685 "foreign investors", many of which originate from the countries of the former USSR, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and 1,651 members of their families.
Get the citizenship of Cyprus (part of the European Union) can be, investing in real estate at least two million euros or in securities - at least 2.5 million euros. A similar program exists in Malta, it is also used by Russian businessmen.
Forbes Magazine in 2017 estimated the state of Oleg Deripaska in 5.1 billion dollars. According to the magazine, he ranks 23rd in the list of the richest businessmen in Russia.
Deripaska bought Cypriot citizenship
An additional passport is needed for a businessman to constantly move around the world, explained his representative
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska received Cypriot citizenship, which gives him the right to visa-free entry into the European Union. This was reported by the Center for the Study of Corruption and Organized Crime (OCCRP) and confirmed to Vedomosti representative of the businessman.
For the first time, Deripaska applied for Cypriot citizenship in 2016, writes OCCRP, but was denied due to an investigation that was conducted against a businessman in Belgium. In July 2016, Deripaska submitted a letter from the Belgian authorities, which stated that the case was sent to the archive because of a lack of evidence. In March 2017, the billionaire filed a second application, and it was approved.
Deripaska's representative confirmed to Vedomosti that the businessman had received Cypriot citizenship. "A wide range of business interests of Oleg Deripaska implies the need for constant movement around the world. This was the reason for obtaining an additional passport, "said the representative of the businessman. He stressed that Deripaska remains a citizen of Russia, where his family lives and focuses his interests in business. The representative also noted that "the presence of a Cypriot passport also does not affect its taxes in any way, since it is not determined by a passport but by a place of permanent residence and activity."
From the data received by the OCCRP and the British newspaper The Guardian, it follows that several hundred people have used programs that allow wealthy individuals to obtain Cypriot citizenship, and with it the right to free entry, work and residence in the European Union.
From documents referred to OCCRP, it follows that citizenship was also offered to another Russian billionaire - Viktor Vekselberg, but he probably rejected the offer. A spokesman for the businessman assured OCCRP that Vekselberg has only Russian citizenship.
The scheme for obtaining citizenship in exchange for investments arose more than 30 years ago, but in the last decade its popularity has grown dramatically, OCCRP notes. According to The Guardian, as of September last year, in order to obtain Cypriot citizenship, it was necessary to invest 2 million euros in real estate on the island or 2.5 million in companies or government bonds.
According to the data provided by the Cyprus Parliament, starting from 2008, 1685 foreign investors from the countries of the former USSR, as well as from China, Iran and Saudi Arabia received Cypriot citizenship. In addition, citizenship was granted to members of their families (1,651 people). The inflow of investments from this scheme is estimated at more than 4.5 billion euros.
Last May, Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades informed Bloomberg that in the four years of the "citizenship in exchange for investment" program, about 2000 passports were issued. About half received the Russians, the agency wrote, citing information from consulting companies that help clients obtain a second citizenship. In the framework of programs related to obtaining citizenship and residence permits, about 4 billion euros of foreign investments were attracted. This corresponds to 22.3% of the GDP of Cyprus for 2016.