Between 2017 and 2019, more than 2,500 personalities from around the world, including criminals, tax evaders, scammers, fugitives and corrupt people, received “golden passports” of the Republic of Cyprus, indicates the site of investigation Tunisian Al Qatiba. “By the way, the European part of the Cypriot island has pocketed, since 2013, no less than 8 billion dollars of ‘dirty money’.”
Al Qatiba is particularly interested in the system put in place by Taïeb Bayahi, one of the most important Tunisian businessmen, to “to weave a network of companies with suspicious objectives between Cyprus, France and a certain number of other countries so as to spare it from any suspicion of offenses or crimes which may fall under the Anti-Terrorism and Prevention Law money laundering”.
An emblematic case
Director of the Arab Institute of Business Leaders for five years, Taïeb Bayahi, 58, had to wait three years before being able to benefit from Cypriot nationality, “Trojan horse” for his purposes. Between 2017 and 2018, the businessman and his family finally obtain the Holy Grail, which will then allow them to benefit from several tax advantages within the European Union as elsewhere.
To achieve this, the family spent a total of nearly 9 million Tunisian dinars (2.7 million euros), in particular by creating a first company in 2015. Contacted by journalists, Taïeb Bayahi cut short the conversation by estimating that it was his private life.
Thanks to his new Cypriot nationality, the Tunisian businessman has invested in real estate in France. In 2019, he created a company headquartered in the heart of Paris. If he resides permanently in Tunisia, Bayahi has chosen to register his new company with his Cypriot address, more precisely in Nicosia.
Cyprus, a very accommodating country
According to a senior official from the Tunisian Ministry of Finance, who preferred to remain anonymous, these operations are most likely intended to put in place a financial package capable of reducing the amount of taxes to be paid to the floor value.
Often classified as tax havens, the island of Cyprus is considered one of the least cooperative countries when it comes to financial transparency.
In addition to the fact that Cypriot nationality allows visa-free travel to 174 countries, it above all offers the possibility of freeing oneself from a certain number of “constraints” taxes, by giving access to multiple exemptions and the relocation of profits and capital without any form of limits.