Two Cypriot passport holders, Su Haijin, aged 40, and Wang Dehai, 34, have been arrested in Singapore, with local media reports claiming that their passports have been purchased through the Golden Passport Scheme, known as the Citizenship by Investment Scheme.
During what was considered among the largest anti-money laundering operations conducted by local authorities, a total of ten people aged between 31 and 44 were arrested.
In addition to nationals from Cyprus, the rest of the persons subject to charges were citizens from Turkey, China, Cambodia, and Ni-Vanuatu.
The Interior Ministry said that it would monitor the case closely, and if any information indicates a violation of citizenship conditions, it would be revoked immediately.
Singapore’s Interior Ministry said that in spite of the fact that authorities in Cyprus have not requested help from Singapore, the government was willing to assist in any way possible should it be required.
“The international stigmatisation of our country as a result of the abuse behind the golden passports should be immediately managed by the competent minister, so their passports are revoked,” Akel MP Irene Charalambidou said, according to Cyprus Mail, while stressing that she has asked for a full briefing from the Interior Ministry.
In addition, she stressed that she was waiting to see if the interior ministry would be revoking the passports, thus alluding to the idea they must have purchased the passports under the citizenship by investment scheme.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it was taking the case seriously and has contacted the financial institutions “where the potentially tainted funds have been identified”.
According to a report from Channel News Asia, in the operation participated, over 400 police officers from various divisions.
Nearly $736 million in properties, bank accounts, cars, cash, and goods were seized, frozen, or issued with the prohibition of disposal orders related to the investigation, based on a report from In Cypris.
Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program allows wealthy foreign investors to acquire citizenship if they financially contribute to the country and meet some conditions.
However, following a report by Al Jazeera called the Cyprus Papers, which brought proof of beneficiaries’ connection to unlawful affairs, authorities in this country terminated this scheme back in 2020.
At the same time, in September this year, the four defendants in the golden passport scandal will appear again before the Nicosia court after the case was thrown out in June this year.