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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis shake hands in Athens

Leaders From Israel, Cyprus, Greece Sign EastMed Gas Pipe Deal

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Latest Posts

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended in Athens Thursday the signing ceremony for the accord to construct the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas pipeline.

The 1,900-kilometre (1,181 miles) link will connect recently discovered, and to-be-found, gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean basin with European markets through Cyprus, Greece and Italy. The project is being developed by IGI Poseidon SA, a joint venture of Greece’s state-owned supplier Depa SA and Edison SpA. Italy is set to sign the agreement at a later date.

GREECE-ISRAEL-CYPRUS-POLITICS-ENERGY-DIPLOMACY

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, center, Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Nikos Anastasiadis shake hands in Athens on Jan. 2. Photographer: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

“Today, we did not just sign an advantageous agreement, but also cemented our decision for strategic engagement in a region that’s in need of cooperation,” Mitsotakis said at the ceremony. “EastMed is not a threat to anyone.”

The accord comes just as tensions are increasing in the region after Turkey’s contentious agreement that delineates maritime borders with Libya and affirms claims to areas of the Mediterranean the pipeline may cross. The three signatory countries all oppose the deal.

Gas Finds and Maritime Claims in the Mediterranean

Israel’s cooperation with Cyprus & Greece “adds to security and prosperity in the region” and “we are not turning against any other country,” Netanyahu said.

The deal allows for other countries to join the project, Anastasiades said.

EastMed is not intended to send a message to Turkey, but to promote cooperation in the energy sector at a regional level, Greek Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said Dec. 24.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the agreement was a “futile” attempt to exclude Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state from the energy projects in the region, adding that Turkish Cypriots have equal rights to the island’s natural resources.

“Turkey is the most commercially feasible and secure route for the utilization of the natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and their transfer to the consumer markets in Europe, including Turkey” Aksoy said in a written statement late Thursday. Any project that disregards Turkey “cannot succeed,” he said.

The accord includes a clause for ensuring the security of the pipeline’s operations and contains a single regulatory framework for the facilitation of the project and a common tax regime that will govern it.

Gas purchase

Depa also signed on Jan. 2 with Energean Oil & Gas Plc a letter of intent for the potential sale and purchase of 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Energean’s fields in offshore Israel. The deal is considered a step for the project’s commercial viability and its realization. The amount represents 20% of the pipeline’s initial capacity of 10 bcm a year.

IGI Poseidon in December agreed to fast-track development of the EastMed pipeline and take a final investment decision within two years. The European Union has said it supports the project because it will help diversify its gas supplies and boost energy security. The target of the pipeline is to transport 20 bcm a year while the budget for the initial capacity stage is 5.2 billion euros ($5.81 billion).

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo also underlined American backing for the pipeline when he attended a Cyprus-Greece-Israel trilateral summit in Jerusalem in March.

— With assistance by Selcan Hacaoglu, and Constantine Courcoulas

Source: bloomberg.com

Cyprus applied for Schengen Membership in September

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Latest Posts

The Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides told the MPs on Monday, November 5, that the government has applied to become part of the Schengen Area earlier in September.

Speaking to the House Committee on Finance, while presenting the proposed budget for 2020, Minister Christodoulides said that the Republic of Cyprus has declared its readiness to become a member of the Schengen Area, and now it is up to the EU to start the evaluation process.

The government has submitted the application for security reasons and we are now expecting the European Union to come and start its evaluation process which is divided in five parts,” Minister Christodoulides said.

Cyprus is one of the four EU but non-Schengen countries, alongside Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia, the three of which have completed the five-stage evaluation process and are now waiting for admission.

The country has been unable to join the Schengen area so far, due to its territorial division, that has followed the events of 1974, when a coup attempt took place in the island country.  It is, however, part of the European Union since May 2004.  In January 2008 Cypriots started using the Euro as the official currency of the country.

After his speech in front of the MPS, Minister Christodoulides was asked by the MP Marinos Sizopoulos regarding the issue of the Golden Visas granted by the Republic of Cyprus. The Golden visa operated by Cyprus is a scheme that permits foreigners who invest a specific amount of money in the country, to obtain citizenship, and an EU passport at the same time, which grants the holder with the right to move through the whole EU and most other countries located in Europe.

In January 2019, the European Commission had presented a report on investor citizenship and residency schemes operated by a number of EU countries, which identified the risks coming from such schemes as money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.

Among others, the reports highlighted that in the EU, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta were the only countries granting investors with citizenship without the obligation of physical residence. It also outlined the steps that must be taken to address these concerns.

In mid-February, the cabinet of the government of Cyprus approved several changes to the golden visa scheme, in accordance to the EU guidelines, including stricter criteria for applicants, background checks by a specialized foreign firm, and immediate rejection of applicants that have already been rejected from any other EU member.

Christodoulides told Sizopoulos that due to this issue Cyprus has asked the EU to proceed with the first part of the Schengen membership application evaluation so that the country could have access to the EU inside information.

That’s how we can have access to EU inside information so as to strengthen the country’s security in relation to people coming over to Cyprus,” Christodoulides said.

Source: schengenvisainfo.com

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New York Times: Standard & Poor’s lifts Cyprus into investment grade

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Investment, Latest Posts

Standard & Poor’s lifts Cyprus into investment grade

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Standard & Poor’s has raised Cyprus’ credit grade by a notch to BBB-, lifting the country back into investment grade after near-bankruptcy five years ago.

The international rating agency pointed Friday to Cyprus government efforts that have slashed the banking sector’s bad loans from around half of all loans to one-third.

It cited moves to carve out bad loans from state-owned Cyprus Co-Operative Bank that were subsequently sold to Cyprus-based Hellenic Bank, the sale of bad assets by top lender Bank of Cyprus and new legislation helping banks to further reduce such loans.

The agency said strong growth of around 3 percent of gross domestic product over the next three years will help drive down public debt. But it added that high public and private indebtedness remain a ratings constraint.

Source: The New York Times

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STOCKWATCH: 25% OF THE ICON SOLD

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Investment, Latest Posts

Σε δύο χρόνια ένας ακόμη επιβλητικός πύργος 21 ορόφων θα δεσπόζει του τοπίου σε μια από τις πιο προνομιούχους παράλιες περιοχές του δήμου Γερμασόγειας στη Λεμεσό.

Τα κατασκευάστηκα έργα του project της εταιρείας Imperio οποία ανήκει στο γαμπρό του προέδρου Αναστασιάδη, Γιάννη Μισιρλή, βρίσκονται σε εξέλιξη.

Ο κ. Μισιρλής, ο οποίος είναι και αναπληρωτής πρόεδρος του παγκύπριου συνδέσμου επιχειρηματιών ανάπτυξης γης και οικοδομών, δήλωσε στη StockWatch ότι «η αξία του έργου θα ανέλθει γύρω στα €90 εκ. ενώ έχει ήδη προπωληθεί το 25% των πολυτελών διαμερισμάτων».

Σύμφωνα με τον κ. Μισιρλή οι αγοραστές είναι ρώσοι, άραβες, ισραηλίτες, αλλά και κύπριοι κάτοικοι εξωτερικού.

Ο κ. Μισιρλής ανέφερε επίσης ότι το Icon, στην ολοκλήρωση του, πολύ εύκολα θα μπορεί να συγκριθεί με αντίστοιχα έργα παρόμοιου βεληνεκούς σε Λονδίνο, Παρίσι, Μαϊάμι και Νέα Υόρκη».

Πρόκειται, πρόσθεσε, για ένα εντυπωσιακό σε σχεδιασμό και προδιαγραφές κτίριο που θα κοσμεί την ακτογραμμή της Λεμεσού για τις επόμενες δεκαετίες.

Σύμφωνα με τα σχέδια του έργου, στον δέκατο όροφο θα υπάρχει μια εντυπωσιακή πισίνα και εστιατόριο με φόντο τη μεσόγειο ενώ στον ενδέκατο όροφο, έχει σχεδιαστεί το Fitness & Yoga Club με εξίσου εκθαμβωτική θέα.

Αξιοσημείωτο είναι και το γήπεδο τένις στον τέταρτο όροφο που θα βρίσκεται στη διάθεση των ενοίκων.

Οι ανέσεις που προσφέρει το Icon είναι πολυάριθμες ξεπερνώντας ακόμη και εκείνες που προσφέρουν υπερπολυτελή ξενοδοχεία με 24ωρη ασφάλεια και εξυπηρέτηση, ανέφερε ο κ. Μισιρλής.

Το Icon έχει σχεδιαστεί από την αρχιτεκτονική εταιρεία UDS Antoniades + Eleftheriou Architects.

Σημειώνεται επίσης ότι στο συγκεκριμένο χώρο υπήρχε το ιστορικό νυχτερινό κέντρο Triangle Bar, το οποίο κατεδαφίστηκε.

Ο πύργος, ο οποίος θα έχει πανοραμική θέα, θα είναι συνολικού ύψους 125 μέτρων και αναμένεται πως θα παραδοθεί τον Δεκέμβριο του 2020.

Source: Stockwatch

Cyprus Russian Business: “Don’t be afraid of high-rises”

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Investment, Latest Posts

Начать разговор с темы высотного строительства было вполне логично, ведь Яннис Мисирлис сейчас строит один из самых необычных небоскрёбов Кипра. Его экспертное мнение имеет немалый вес, потому что под брендом Imperio уже построены десятки жилых домов и несколько крупных офисных центров. Впрочем, Яннис не ограничился темой строительства и поделился своим видением касательно будущего Лимассола и всего острова. Например, наш собеседник предложил рассмотреть возможность превращения Кипра в центр авиаиндустрии: для этого можно и нужно использовать успешный опыт работы шипингового сектора.

– В последнее время высотное строительство в Лимассоле подвергается резкой критике. Основные вопросы – отсутствие генерального плана Лимассола, сомнительная эстетика высоток и блокирование ими вида на море для остальных домов, которые из-за этого теряют в стоимости. Каково ваше мнение на этот счёт?

– Высотки не могут портить внешний вид города, они – его неотъемлемая часть. Вспомним Нью-Йорк, Лондон или Чикаго – их ландшафт является символом делового мира. Лимассол, конечно, не сможет стать вторым Манхэттеном или Дубаем: в ближайшие несколько лет мы увидим законченными не более десяти высотных зданий.

Read more Cyprus Business

Bloomberg: Cyprus has become a gateway to Europe

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Investment, Latest Posts

Assets under management up 29% in first quarter to record high

Drawn by its location — straddling the regions of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and with access to Eastern Europe, Russia and former Soviet republics — flexible legislation and lower costs, Asian funds are using Cyprus for their single European Union passport for investment across the bloc.

“There is an increasing trend for funds from countries who traditionally didn’t have strong economic ties with Cyprus such as China, India and even Japan, to establish a base in the country as their gateway to the EU,” Andreas Yiasemides, Vice President of the Cyprus Investment Funds Association, said in an interview in Nicosia.

The number of investment funds and assets under management have hit record highs, according to the Central Bank of Cyprus. At the end of March the number of funds rose to 123 from 110 at end December. Total assets under management rose by about 29 percent to 4.45 billion euros ($5.24 billion) from 3.45 billion euros. In Dec., 2008 there were 55 funds with 1.23 billion euros in assets under management.

 

Investment funds are increasingly attracted to the island

Interest for the setup and authorization by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission of alternative investment funds runs strong, its Chairwoman Demetra Kalogerou said.
“There are 60 applications at this moment for different fund structures,” she said. “Of these, 44 have been pre-approved, subject to fulfilling certain conditions.”

 

Flexible legislation

While Cyprus’s existing funds framework legislation applies EU directives and regulations, the country is introducing additional changes to make the island even more attractive for investors and fund and asset managers to register and manage funds, said Marios Tannousis, Board Member and Secretary of CIFA.
These include legislation that will enable investors to know from the beginning the tax regime applied to the different types of funds, a fast-track procedure for launching so-called registered alternate investment funds and the establishment of a new category of investment managers known as mini-managers who will be licensed to operate below current alternative investment fund manager thresholds, he said.

Cypriot legislation for establishing funds is much more flexible than elsewhere in Europe, but investors remain well protected, Yiasemides said. Costs in Cyprus are much lower than elsewhere in the EU and that is very important for small and medium-sized fund managers that Cyprus is seeking to lure. “We can’t become Luxembourg from day one and so we aim to attract funds that take cost into account,” he said.

 

Domestic investment

A physical presence in Cyprus also means funds contribute to the country’s domestic economy, renting or buying offices and paying fees to the state. They can carry out investments, especially in real estate, Yiasemides said.

Kylin Prime Fund, a Sino-European manager, established the Kylinprime Investment Fund in Cyprus as an alternative investment fund for the island’s assets. It invests in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects in Cyprus, financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations, such as bonds, bills issued with Cysec approval, according to its website. It is also one of the very few funds authorized to raise capital under the Cyprus citizenship by investment program, the company says.

“We are receiving inquiries for domiciling funds in Cyprus from China and India, but also from the Middle East and Europe including from Switzerland, Italy, Greece and Germany,” Tannousis said. “There is also some interest from U.K. funds managers to have back up funds in the country as their EU base, ” he said.

— With assistance by Vassilis Karamanis

Source: Bloomberg

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Leeza Mangaldas,Forbes: Why India’s Richest Are Seeking Citizenship In Cyprus

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Investment, Latest Posts

India’s wealthy have long coveted foreign passports. Some see it as a ticket to easier tax regimes and more business friendly climates. For others, it’s the desire for a more western lifestyle or the ability to study, work or travel abroad with ease. For rich Indians looking for citizenship or permanent residency in a European nation, the scenic island country of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean is becoming an increasingly popular choice, thanks to its “golden visa” program, where residency or citizenship can be acquired via investment.

Why Cyprus?

Perhaps the most high profile Indian to opt for Cypriot citizenship in recent times is the real estate billionaire Surendra Hiranandani, cofounder of the Hiranandani Group. His reason: the ease of doing business.

“If I had a chance to speak with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, I would urge him to do something about improving the ease of getting various permissions for the real estate sector. Then, of course, there is the major problem of the rate of interest the builders are charged,” he said in an interview with the Mumbai Mirror, lamenting the state of the construction business in India.

Interestingly, Cyprus seems to appeal not just to high net worth Indians in India, but equally to wealthy Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in cities like London or Dubai.

Another famous Indian to recently take on Cypriot citizenship is Anish Bhatt, better known as Watch Anish. He’s the founder of one of the world’s foremost watch and lifestyle magazines, with close to two million followers on Instagram.

Speaking to me from Cyprus in a telephone interview, when asked why he made the switch, he said the biggest draw was the quality of life the move offered. “I travel so much for work, I barely get to spend 60 days a year with my wife and daughter. Those 60 days at home are now in a place with constant sunshine, swimming pools and easy access to the most beautiful beaches in the world, instead of in an apartment in a dreary, hectic city. London was also getting more and more dangerous and I wanted a better quality of life for my little girl.”

The island’s more tax-friendly business climate, and varied investment opportunities are an added bonus for new businesses. “It really worked well because the tax system in Cyprus is very easy to work with. Plus with all the new infrastructure and development coming up, I’ve also discovered many promising new investment opportunities,” Bhatt said.

What the process is like

When asked what the process of getting his Cypriot passport was like, Anish explained, “While it may seem daunting to make the switch to a whole new country, it can actually be a very smooth process–you just work with consultants that specialize in enabling your move.”

To find out more, I spoke with Dillon Bhatt, head of international business development at Millwood Kane International, the real estate investment firm that worked with Watch Anish to facilitate his move.

Currently based out of London and Cyprus, the firm specializes in assisting high net worth individuals with the Cypriot citizenship-via-investment and residency-via-investment processes. Now the firm also has a growing presence in Mumbai, because a large portion of their clients are Indians.

“Cyprus offers the quickest route to European citizenship through the investment program,” Dillon said. “The investment can be made by a purchase of a €2 million home in Cyprus, or an investment of €2 million into land development, infrastructure projects, hospitality, businesses, or even funds in Cyprus with an additional €500,000 + VAT invested in a home.”

For a Permanent Residency Visa, “applicants are required to invest €300,000 plus VAT in real estate, and comply with basic minimum annual income criteria,” he explained. “There’s no obligation to reside in Cyprus, a short visit once in two years is sufficient; and after seven years of residency in Cyprus, you are entitled to apply for naturalization and obtain a Cyprus passport.”

In either case, the process usually takes “approximately three to six months,” according to Dillon.

What are the benefits?

“Once you have Cypriot citizenship or residency, as long as you spend at least 60 days a year in Cyprus and less than 183 days in any other country, you are eligible to be a tax resident in Cyprus, which can be extremely tax efficient for most people making the switch,” Dillon explained.

“Cyprus has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the EU, at 12.5% which can be further reduced to as little as 2.5% by applying Notional Interest Deduction (NID). Also, there is no capital gains, inheritance or estate tax, and significantly, there is zero tax on dividends–so it can make a lot of sense financially for Indians.”

Dillon also said that family members of the primary applicant can also easily acquire Cyprus residency or citizenship; spouses and children under 18 years are included–and even adult children until the age of 28 are eligible until the age of 28 if they can show that they are financially dependent on the primary applicant.

“This makes it especially appealing to wealthy Indians who tend to live with large families and have family-run businesses,” he said.

The Cyprus citizenship-via-investment has been popular with millionaires from other countries for several years now, and it is understandable why more and more wealthy Indians are keen to avail of it too.

But just last month, the Cypriot government announced that it will limit the number of naturalizations of investors to 700 a year, starting this year.

It will be interesting to see how this policy update will impact the aspirations of high net worth Indians wanting to relocate to Europe. Perhaps it will make Cypriot citizenship even more desirable.

Source: Leeza Mangaldas, Forbes

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Cyprus Investment Scheme Improved

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Investment, Latest Posts

The Council of Ministers decided on Monday to limit the number of naturalisations of investors to 700 a year, starting this year.

The citizenship-by-investment scheme will also be renamed the “Cypriot Investment Scheme”, the Press and Information Office (PIO) said in an announcement after the House of Representatives meeting.

Every application will also be subject to an enhanced due diligence, the PIO said, after the House of Representatives meeting.

Applicants, who will foot the bill for the enhanced due diligence process, will have to wait up to six months for their applications to be examined.

“A code of conduct has been adopted with clear provisions to avoid exaggerations and abusive practices,” it said. While investors have to remain owners of their investment for a minimum three-year period, in the case of buyers of real estate, the period now begins with the issue of a town planning permit.

The government’s golden visa scheme introduced in the current form in 2014 and amended on a number of occasions thereafter, allows investors to receive Cypriot citizenship for an investment of as little as €2m.

In 2017, the government issued 503 passports to an equal number of investors and 510 additional passports to members of their respective families, compared to 443 and 461 in 2016, 337 and 342 in 2015, and 214 and 186 in 2014.

In March, the European Commission said that it would investigate golden visa schemes of Member States and prepare a report amid complaints that such schemes were vulnerable to abuse, undermined the fight against corruption and increased the risk of money laundering.

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The Icon: the joy of high-rise living

By | Citizenship, Cyprus, Investment, Latest Posts, Uncategorized

54 immaculately designed residences are delivered fully finished with inspired interiors and outdoor living spaces designed by Imperio’s award-winning team.

All of these unique residences were designed to gracefully frame views of the city of Limassol, the coastline and the sky offering an effortless sense of ease and relaxation.

Discover the benefits of investing in a second home and acquiring the European citizenship or a Permanent Resident Permit (PR). Contact our well-trained Customer Service team for more information on the immigration programmes of Cyprus and our properties.

#CreatingMemories

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Cyprus ranks list of world’s most powerful passports

By | Citizenship

A strong passport is a powerful thing when it comes to seamless international travelling, allowing its holder to move across borders without dealing with the nightmarish bureaucracy of a visa application.

According to recent studies, which rank the world’s most powerful passports, Cyprus travel documents were cited as among the most powerful in the world, with Cyprus passport holders being able to travel to over 140 counties without visa.

In order to come up with the rankings, the studies use a weighted approach that considers five factors: visa-free travel, taxation, perception, dual citizenship and overall freedom. And while Cyprus’ main advantages are the speed of approval, its membership in the EU and the visa-free agreements with a number of third-world countries, it is one of the most sought after destinations for investors seeking to establish their business, due to the low tax jurisdiction, or looking for a holiday home or a permanent residence to one of the safest countries in the world.
Asked about the findings of these recent studies, Yiannis Misirlis, Director at Imperio said, “the fact that Cyprus has improved its ranking as one of the most desirable passports among High-Net Worth Individuals is great news. This has a direct reflection on the economy, and the property market in particular. The economic prosperity of the country (especially the come-back of the economy since the 2013 banking crisis) and the political stability are two of the most important factors of the desirability of the Cypriot passport. Our country can further improve its already excellent ranking by negotiating a visa-free policy with countries such as the U.S, Russia, India and China. This should make the Cyprus citizenship programme unbeatable”.