Russian and Ukrainian moguls “buy” European citizenship from Cyprus

A large group of Russian and Ukrainian billionaires, accused of corruption, are among the hundreds of people who have acquired European passports under a “premium” visa system.

According to The Guardian, starting with 2013, the Cypriot government would have earned more than four billion dollars by granting citizenship to foreign moguls, thus giving them the right to live and work in the European Union for a certain amount of money.

Only in 2016, the Government of Cyprus would have issued over 400 such passports.

The Guardian journalists consulted a list of hundreds of names, including influential businesspeople and powerful politicians such as a former Russian parliamentarian or the founders of the largest investment Ukrainian bank.

Another benefactor of this privileged system would be an art collector who bought the US President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach villa, as well as a Syrian businessman from President Bashar al-Assad’s entourage.

Rami Makhlouf, the cousin of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, was targeted by the US security agencies in 2008 after being accused of corruption.

In 2010, the Government of Cyprus granted him the citizenship. A year later, in the wake of the outbreak of civil war in Syria, his citizenship was withdrawn.

Billionaire art collector Dmitry Rybolovlev came to the attention of international media after meeting with Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.

In 2005, Trump paid $41 million for a villa in Palm Beach, which he sold to a Russian businessman three years later with $95 million.

He was granted citizenship in 2012 and, according to Forbes, his fortune is estimated to $7.4 billion.

Greece, to escape the financial crisis of 8 years

Greece crisis

Greece has made another step further in the process of ending the 2009 financial crisis

According to the Financial Times, the European Union has confirmed that Athens is no longer in the “hole” of the euro area.

The decision was expected for several months and symbolizes the end of the “excessive deficit procedure” that Brussels initiated eight years ago after the country’s economy collapsed.

“After many years of severe difficulties, Greece’s finances are in a much better place”, stated the Estonian Finance Minister Toomas Tõniste, the country that, in rotation, occupies the European Union’s presidency.

The decision will be welcomed in Athens as another step on the way of obtaining an economic normalization and to get out from the bailout program by August 2018.

A European Commission spokesman said the decision demonstrates that Greece “has kept its promises and has returned on a sustainable path”

The decision to close the Excessive Deficit Procedure recognizes that Greece’s budget deficit has fallen below the EU’s 3% of GDP ratio.

Thus, France and Spain remain the only countries in the euro area that are under the so-called “correction program” of the EU budget.

The financial disaster triggered by the launch of the new iPhone


The most recent devices launched by Apple were greeted by users with a dose of skepticism, especially by those investors who invested in the Asian supplying industry, writes Bloomberg.

Hon Hai Precision Industry, which assembles iPhone and other Apple products, decreased with 10% on the Taipei stock market since Apple launched its new collection of gadgets.

Other suppliers in the region, including Pegaron in Taiwan and Innotek in South Korea, reported a 12% collapse.

The $1.100 billion market in Taiwan is extremely exposed to changes in Apple’s prospects due to the dominance of component manufacturers.

Hon Hai and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the company providing the main chips for Apple, account for a quarter of the total Taiex index, while exports account for more than half of Taiwan’s GDP.

“The demand for the new iPhone has been disappointing for markets and for foreign investors, and strong supplier shrinking could continue on the Taiwan stock market”, said Alan Tseng, vice president of Capital Investment Management in Taiwan.

“Apple’s stock market fells down the benchmark market index in Taiwan and could affect it further in the upcoming period.”

Foreign investors withdrew last week a total of 677 million dollars from Taiwan’s capital market, the largest exodus in the past three months. Prior to Apple’s launch, the optimism that the new iPhone model could propel Taiwanese shares has sent the Taiex index at its peak.