KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said his country should terminate the passport of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho if reports of its existence are verified.
Anastasiades’ country came under global attention after it was alleged that Low, or Jho Low, used its so-called “golden passport” scheme to effectively purchase his citizenship there.
“Absolutely yes,” Anastasiades told reporters yesterday, according to the Cyprus Mail.
“And there may well be others [requiring review] which have not come out in public.”
However, he said this would only be after a full investigation is carried out with respect to due process.
Anastasiades also sought to contain the fallout over the “golden passport” programme that also allegedly benefited eight Cambodian elites with ties to the country’s authoritarian regime.
Cyprus previously launched an investigation into those cases specifically as part of a system-wide audit announced following the revelations.
The president of Cyprus reiterated that any citizenship issued as a result of violations would be cancelled, before saying that the matter should not be exaggerated.
“If, for example, among the some 4,000 citizenships granted, it is found that 10 or 15 may not be up to par, I don’t think that it justifies all this uproar so that — and it might be down to honest mistakes — we drag our country’s name through the mud.”
Yesterday, another Cypriot news outlet, Politis, revealed that Low applied for and secured the passport through the government-backed Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP), with the alleged endorsement of the country’s Christian Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
Until recently, Low had been thought to be hiding out in China and controlling his remaining business interests from various parts of the country.
After his US$1 billion (RM4.15 billion) settlement with the US Justice Department last week, however, a spokesman of Low appeared to taunt authorities by saying he was offered asylum “by a country that acts in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights.”
Low remains wanted by authorities in Malaysia, the US and Singapore.