Cyprus President Wants Jho Low’s Passport Revoked

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Citizenship broker denies taking on Jho Low as client, Archbishop says Church merely “promoted” Jho Low’s Cyprus passport bid, former interior minister denies fast-tracking passport application.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades says authorities in the republic should revoke the passport of Jho Low, amid reports that the fugitive businessman obtained the document in 2015 with the help of a well-known citizenship broker.

“Absolutely yes,” Anastasiades said in a report by Cyprus Mail when asked to comment on the matter.

However, he said necessary probes must be carried out “so that due process is followed to justify any revocations”.

On Sunday, Greek-language newspaper Politis reported that Jho Low had allegedly obtained a Cypriot passport.

He was also reported to have commissioned the construction of a mansion on the island said to be worth €5 million (RM23.2 million).

According to the report, Low arrived in Cyprus on Sept 18, 2015, and obtained his passport through the council of ministers under an investment scheme two days later.

Quoting a Cyprus newspaper, Bloomberg news service said yesterday that Low had obtained the passport following intervention on his behalf by Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the Orthodox Church on the eastern Mediterranean island.

When asked about the dubious naturalisations granted to foreign investors which recently came to light, Anastasiades said some of the cases “speak for themselves”.

“And there may well be others [requiring review] which have not come out in public.

“All those granted citizenship in breach of the [updated] stricter criteria, shall see their citizenship revoked as swiftly as possible, period,” he added.

Anastasiades also cautioned against blowing the issue out of proportion.

“If, for example, among some 4,000 citizenships granted, it is found that 10 or 15 may not be up to par, I don’t think it justifies all this uproar so that – and it might be down to honest mistakes – we drag our country’s name through the mud,” he added.

Cyprus Mail also quoted Anastasiades as defending the overall government-backed investment scheme which Low, along with many other controversial figures, had used to secure a Cyprus passport which also granted them status as European Union citizens.

“Unfortunately, we are trying on our own to wreck what has been a driver for construction companies, for services offered by lawyers, accountants, and other professions.

“It is through growth that unemployment has declined substantially, and in general the country is on a growth trajectory,” he said.

Meanwhile, broker firm Henley & Partners explained today that it had rebuffed Low as a client.

The firm also asserted that, in the case of Low, the responsibility to process and approve such an application lies with the government – who is also in a position to annul Low’s application.

“Contrary to what has been stated in multiple articles, Low has never been a client of Henley & Partners.

“Whilst he approached Henley & Partners in 2015, the firm declined to accept Low as a client,” the firm said in a statement to Malay Mail.

Similarly, Chrysostomos has denied a news report claiming that Low obtained a Cypriot passport with his help.

Citing CyBc, a Greek news portal, Cyprus Mail reported that the archbishop said a developer, who had purchased church land in Ayia Napa, had asked the church to promote the citizenship bid by Low.

Chrysostomos also said that the developer gave the church three names to lobby for citizenship and that he was unaware as to whom the citizenship was granted to.

He also said when it came to such matters, it was the state authorities who had the final say although the church could promote certain individuals.

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“It is done for the good of Cyprus. It is not up to us [the church] if the citizenship will be given, we are just asking,” he was quoted as saying.

Chrysostomos went on to reveal that Low, who is at the centre of the 1MDB scandal, had donated money to the theological school when he visited Cyprus. According to CyBC, the sum came up to €300,000.

The Politis newspaper previously reported that 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.

Former interior minister Socratis Hasikos, who was also implicated in the expose by the Politis newspaper, also denied the charge.

On Twitter, Hasikos said the claim was a “monstrous lie”.

“If indeed the archbishop were asking for the issuance of a passport for someone, and within two days they issued the passport, it would have been a monstrous scandal,” Cyprus Mail quoted him as saying.

According to Hasikos, Low had filed his naturalisation papers through an audit firm two-and-half-months prior to September and the timeframe within which Low secured his passport “was not out of the ordinary.”


Earlier reports:

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