Singapore arrest of nationalized Cypriots sparks fresh criticism against citizenship scheme

The arrest in Singapore earlier this week of two nationalized Cypriot men has sparked fresh criticism against the island’s controversial and now suspended citizenship by investment scheme, informs in-cyprus.

Su Haijin, aged 40, and 34-year-old Wang Dehai are suspected to be members of an international money laundering ring which includes eight other arrested nationals from China, Turkey, Cambodia and Vanuatu.

Singapore authorities seized assets worth nearly US$750 million in sweeping raids across the city-state on Tuesday. Police said they discovered a group that was laundering proceeds from “overseas organised crime activities including scams and online gambling”.

Philenews reported on Friday that Haijin and his wife obtained Cypriot citizenship just before the end of 2019. And that Dehai obtained his in May of 2019. The origins of both men who presented themselves as financial investors are Chinese.

However, there is no mention of Haijin and Dehai in the findings of investigations carried out in Nicosia to establish any bad practices under the then naturalization programme.

It is not clear whether these two individuals had come under the microscope of law enforcement authorities of other countries in the past.

The “investigative committee on exceptional naturalisations of foreign investors and businessmen” headed by retired Supreme Court judge Myron Nicolatos released a report in July 2021.

That report put under the microscope a total of 195 persons who obtained a Cypriot passport between 2007 and August 2020.

This committee was tasked with recommending the revocation of citizenships or the examination of specific naturalisations that may had violated the terms of the scheme.

However, neither Haijin nor Dehai were included in the investigations.