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

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Fugitive businessperson Jho Low received the support of Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus in his attempt to obtain a passport from the Mediterranean island state, according to a news report.

DHA Photo

Cypriot daily Politis said the head of Cyprus’ Christian Orthodox church in a Sept 1, 2015 letter to the then interior minister Socrates Hasicos had expressed his request for Low to be granted a naturalised citizen status through the government-backed Cyprus Investment Plan.

The front-page report quoted sources who said Low’s advisors had first referred him to the archbishop, who had the necessary access to fast-track Cypriot citizenship.

The report claimed that the archbishop informed the minister that Low would be in Cyprus on Sept 18 and is available for a meeting to discuss potential investments on church land.

He also purportedly requested the minister to consider Low’s application for a Cyprus passport.

The Politis said the Cypriot government had in 2014 introduced stricter conditions for exceptional naturalisation amid concerns that the programme could be abused by irresponsible individuals.

It further claimed that the archbishop’s recommendation could have helped Low’s application as he was at the time already in the radar for alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

According to the report, the Malaysian-born businessperson arrived in Cyprus on Sept 18, 2015 and successfully obtained his passport which also granted him European Union citizen status.

The supposed investments on church-owned land did not materialise but it was reported that Low fulfilled the requirements for an interested party to deposit five million euros in a Cypriot bank for three years and buy a permanent home worth at least 500,000 euros.

Yesterday, Politis reported that Low bought an unfinished villa worth five million euros in Aya Napia to fulfil the conditions on Sept 23, 2015.

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

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is currently on trial over the alleged theft.

Earlier today, inspector-general of police Abdul Hamid Bador complained that the authorities in a foreign country, where Low is hiding, have not been cooperative.

Not naming the country, he said the authorities, among others, claimed that Low now resembles a bear after undergoing plastic surgery.

“There were times (they said) when he walked, he resembled a wild ox. Is that a logical excuse to be given by the authorities?” he added. – Malaysiakini

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