Businessman Humphrey Kariuki could lose his Cyprus citizenship by the end of this month due to tax evasion allegations.
According to reports, Kariuki is among 26 individuals targeted including Chinese billionaire Zhang Shumin, reportedly linked to a gold scam, his wife and three children.
“If there were nine investment cases, concerning 26 people among 4,000 applications, it is logical that some would be problematic when controls weren’t strict,” said Cyprus Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides, as quoted by local media.
Petrides termed the individuals as high risk citizens, who should not have been allowed to be nationals of the country, considered to be a tax haven.
“There were mistakes, it was a mistake not to have criteria, for instance, for high-risk persons,” he said.
Kariuki has been a Cyprus citizen since 2016, and is currently facing charges in Kenya of 21 counts of tax evasion and being in possession of counterfeit excise duty stamps for his Africa Spirits Limited (ASL) company.
Others targeted in the ‘cleansing’ include Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, Malaysian Jho Taek Low, eight Cambodians, two Russian bankers among others.
Cyprus has been under pressure from the European Union, where it is a member, to tighten its rules for issuing citizenship to foreigners thought to be corrupt in their home countries.