And in 2012, Cyprus’ biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus was the subject of a ‘bail-in’, which left a large proportion of its biggest Russian investors as new-found shareholders.
As Deustche Welle reported, when the bank was rescued, it effectively became Russian owned, with six Russian investors/shareholders elected to the bank’s board of 16.
"It means that now we are completely dependant on Russia”, Alexandros Apostolides, economist at the European University Cyprus, told Deutsche Welle. “Before, they were only depositors, now they are shareholders. They own a bank that is even more systemic than it was before the bailout."
And the island-state continues to offer a range of mechanisms for the deposition of Russian capital. Limassol Marina, which is billed as the largest infrastructure project currently underway in Cyprus, is offering luxury waterside residences as part of the €350 million development, and there has been no shortage of Russian buyers. Non-Cypriots, comprising a melting pot of British, German, Middle Eastern, Russian, South African and Ukrainian individuals own Sixty per cent of the residences.
Significantly, Paraskeva explained, with a purchase of €300,000 and above, property buyers can apply for a permanent EU residence permit. This has been a popular marketing tool for marinas in various parts of the world looking to target UHNWIs seeking far-reaching visas, and appears an attractive bolt-on for the relatively modest sum of a marina residence. Offering attractive visa options is a popular carrot for destination marinas to employ. Similarly Christophe Harbour, which is currently under development in St Kitts, is offering a passport to purchasers of its $400,000 waterside residences - appealing to those individuals with passport limitations.
Furthermore, she said, “Cyprus is located at the crossroads of three continents - coupled with the reliable climate and long summers, this makes it an ideal destination for winter berthing. Limassol Marina is, itself, located in the heart of the city so it is extremely convenient for visiting boats, their owners, captains and crew.”
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