After Jho Low Exposé, Cyprus to Strip Citizenship of 26 “Investors”

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Jho Low among those who will be stripped of Cypriot citizenship.

Cyprus is beginning the process of revoking the citizenship of 26 individuals who obtained citizenship through the country’s investment-for-passport programme.

The withdrawal process is focused on investors who obtained a total of 26 passports, including for family members, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides told reporters.

The decision will cover nine Russians, eight Cambodians, five Chinese, two Kenyans, one Iranian and one Malaysian, a senior government official said.

Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, is among those who will be stripped of Cypriot citizenship, the official said.


Cyprus will also review all individuals who’ve obtained some 4,000 passports under the programme, while the government plans to ensure strict observance and implementation of the investment programme framework, the minister said.

Fugitive financier Jho Low obtained a Cypriot passport in 2015 following intervention on his behalf by Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the Orthodox Church on the eastern Mediterranean island, Politis reported.

Low obtained Cyprus nationality under the country’s investment-for-passport scheme after buying a mansion for €5 million (RM23 million) in the resort town of Agia Napa, according to the newspaper.

He immediately left the island after purchasing the property and getting the passport, the report said.

A senior Cypriot government official confirmed that Low has Cypriot nationality. The Archbishop wasn’t available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.

Chrysostomos sent at least two letters to the country’s then-interior minister asking for Low’s naturalisation as the two were in talks for investment on church property, Politis reported.

Low has been painted by prosecutors as the mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal, which saw more than US$4.5 billion allegedly misappropriated.

He recently struck a deal with the US Department of Justice to return almost US$1 billion of assets to resolve forfeiture cases linked to him. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

His whereabouts remain unknown despite the Interpol issuing a red notice against him last year.

Malaysian police said they know his location but that he’s being protected by a certain party, with whom they are conducting talks to bring him back.

Low was offered asylum in August by a country that acts in line with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights, his spokesman said last week through his lawyers, without naming the country.

Earlier reports:

Nov 6, Cyprus Acknowledges Mistakes After Passports Issued to Jho Low, Hun Sen’s Relatives

Nov 6, Cyprus President Wants Jho Low’s Passport Revoked

Nov 5, Cypriot Government to Relook at Scheme That Netted Jho Low a New Passport

Nov 4, Report: Archbishop of Cyprus Helped Fast-Track Jho Low’s Citizenship

Nov 4, Jho Low Now Holds Cyprus Passport, Citizenship, Building Grand Hideaway Home