Greek Cyprus being singled out in golden visa criticism, says Anastasiades

Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades hit back at critics of Cyprus for ‘’singling out’’  its citizenship by investment programme, saying the divided island is not alone in the practice and many EU countries have similar schemes in practice, the Cyprus Mail reported on Wednesday.

EU member Greek Cyprus offers two golden visa programs through real estate investment; one for permanent residency and one for citizenship. Foreign media outlets such as the UK’s Guardian, as well as certain quarters inside the EU have criticised Greek Cyprus over the investment scheme as the Greek Cypriot leader’s Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners LLC law firm had filed 41 such applications from a total of 2390 from May 2013 until August of this year.

“It cannot be that Cyprus is being targeted, with this criticism being echoed by certain advocates within Cyprus for political expediencies,’’ Anastasiades said.

The Greek Cypriot leader said that among the thousands of applications for the citizenship-by-investment programme filed by various companies and law firms on behalf of foreign nationals, only 41 were filed by his law firm.

“Instead of appreciating the benefits to the country’s economy, we are looking to target political personalities or politically exposed persons, regardless whether this serves the interests of people who write for the Guardian or other newspapers accusing the Republic of Cyprus,” Anastasiades said.

Noting there is an intense targeting of Greek Cyprus, its leader stated, adding, ‘’The total citizenships granted via the scheme from 2013 to August 2018 did not exceed 4,700. This represents just 0.3 per cent of the total citizenships granted by other EU member states.”

The Greek Cypriot leader maintains that since assuming office in 2013 he has had nothing to do with the law firm,  where the main partners in the company are his daughters.