• The Financial District


A huge leak of confidential Cypriot government documents obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit called The Cyprus Papers reveals that dozens of high-level officials and their families bought so-called "golden passports" from Cyprus between late 2017 and late 2019.

Among those who bought the passports, worth a minimum investment of $2.5 million each, were elected politicians of several countries, board members of state enterprises and the brother of a former Lebanese Prime Minister, Al Jazeera said in a report late on August 24, 2020.

These officials, known as politically exposed persons (PEPs), are internationally recognized as a category of individuals who are at higher risk of corruption because they or their family members hold some form of government position. The revelation comes one day after Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit revealed that Cyprus sold passports to convicted criminals and fugitives from the law.

One of the people who bought a passport is Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of Afghanistan's Lower House of Parliament, who not only bought Cypriot citizenship for himself, his wife and three daughters, but also provided the family passports for St. Kitts and Nevis, one of several Caribbean states who sell citizenship. Rahmani is a former general who became a highly successful businessman handling fuel and transport contracts between the Afghan government and the US military. Two other officials who bought golden passports are Pham Phu Quoc, who represents Ho Chi Minh City in the Vietnamese Congress, and Russian national Igor Reva, once a deputy minister for economic development.

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