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

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The Cypriot government will relook at the Cyprus Investment Plan that helped fugitive businessperson Jho Low net a new passport just as international investigators were closing on him on the 1MDB scandal in 2015.

Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides today took to Twitter to say that the government will look into Cypriot daily Politis’ report that Low had secured the citizenship despite background checks raised several red flags.

He added that the Cypriot government will also look at similar cases in which individuals have abused to the system that also allows them to get European Union citizenship.

Meanwhile, Constantinos’ predecessor Socratis Hasikos, who was the interior minister when the citizenship was granted to Low, called for it to be revoked if it is proven that Low had committed any crime.

Writing on Twitter, Socratis said when the approval was given during his time, the Cypriot police had informed him that Low had no criminal record.

This was despite reports of Low already being under the radar of authorities probing the 1MDB scandal.

Under the Cyprus Investment Plan, an individual can gain citizenship by depositing five million euros in a Cypriot bank for three years and purchase a permanent home worth at least 500,000 euros.

Cyprus-daily Politis in a front-page report today claimed that Low had received the support of Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus in his attempt to obtain a passport from the Mediterranean island state.

The report said the head of Cyprus’ Christian Orthodox church in a Sept 1, 2015 letter Hasikos had expressed his request for Low to be granted a naturalised citizen status.

It said Low was subsequently granted citizenship on Sept 18, 2015, after meeting Hasikos and subsequently purchasing an unfinished villa worth five million euros in Cyprus to fulfil the remaining conditions.

Yesterday, Politis said Low was granted the passport despite a background check report on him raised several red flags.

The background check had raised concerns about Low’s status as a politically exposed person as well his alleged money laundering activities, fraud and regulatory breaches.

The US Department of Justice believed that at least US$4.5 billion has been misappropriated from 1MDB and is working with Malaysia to recover the allegedly stolen funds.

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is standing trial over the alleged theft while Low is still on the run. – Malaysiakini


Earlier reports:

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