Exposed – Cyprus Papers – The People Who Bought A Cyprus Passport

Mir Rahman Rahmani

Afghanistan 🇦🇫

 

Year of birth: 1962

Application approved: 07.03.2017

Info: A former general in the Afghan military, Rahmani was appointed speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, in May 2019. The announcement lead to MPs fighting in the debating chamber.

Senior Afghan officials are not allowed dual citizenship.

Related applicants: Rahmani sponsored the application of his wife and three daughters, who acquired Cypriot citizenship on 01.12.2017. They are also citizens of the Caribbean country of St Kitts & Nevis.

 

Gati Saadi Al-Jebouri

Bulgaria 🇧🇬

Гати ал-Джибури

Year of birth: 1969

Application approved: 03.07.2018

Info: Managing Director of Lukoil Mid East Ltd (2017-2019).

Lukoil Mid East Ltd is 100 percent owned by Russian oil giant, Lukoil. The company has been under US sanctions since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Related applicants: Jebouri’s wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

 

陈安林

Year of birth: 1964

Application approved: 03.07.2018

Estimated net worth $57.9m

Info: A member of the CPPCC National Committee of Huangpi District, Chen is also a director of a subsidiary of the state-owned enterprise, China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP).

Related applicants: Chen’s wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship. The couple are not investors but obtained passports through their son, Yao Chen, who became a Cypriot citizen on July 27, 2017.

Second citizenships are not allowed under Chinese law and can result in the automatic loss of Chinese citizenship.

 

 

傅政军

Year of birth: 1978

Application approved: 08.11.2017

Info: Fu’s companies include WEEK8 HOLDINGS (HK) LIMITED and Tian Ge Interactive Holdings Limited, a social media platform.

He also holds political office as vice-chairman of the presidium of Zhejiang Province Zheshang Economic Development Center and formerly as Member of the 6th Jinhua Municipal Committee of the CPPCC (2011-2017).

Related applicants: Fu’s wife also acquired a Cypriot passport.

Second citizenships are not allowed under Chinese law and can result in the automatic loss of Chinese citizenship.

Lu Wenbin

China 🇨🇳

 

陆文斌

Year of birth: 1964

Application approved: 24.07.2019

Info: Lu is a local political representative as deputy to the 17th Chengdu People’s Congress. Cyprus’ new rules banning PEPs from the golden passport scheme were just weeks away from coming into force by the time his passport was approved.

Related applicants: Lu’s wife also acquired a Cypriot passport.

Second citizenships are not allowed under Chinese law and can result in the automatic loss of Chinese citizenship.

Yang Huiyan

China 🇨🇳

  

杨惠妍

Year of birth: 1981

Application approved: 23.10.2018

Estimated net worth: $27bn

Info: Billionaire businesswoman and the richest woman in Asia. Yang is the majority shareholder of property developer Country Garden Holdings, a stake largely transferred to her by her father, Yeung Kwok Keung, in 2007. He is also a member of The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CCPPCC), an advisory body to the government.

Related applicants: Yang’s husband, Chen Chong, also acquired a Cypriot passport. He is a member of the 12th Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Second citizenships are not allowed under Chinese law and can result in the automatic loss of Chinese citizenship.

Zhao Zhenpeng

China 🇨🇳

 

赵振鹏

Year of birth: 1981

Application approved: 12.02.2019

Info: Member of the Binzhou Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an advisory body to the government.

Zhao is chairman and the legal representative of Wuyi Yongli Salt Industry Co., Ltd.

Related applicants: Zhao’s wife also acquired a Cypriot passport.

Second citizenships are not allowed under Chinese law and can result in the automatic loss of Chinese citizenship.

Apurv Bagri

India 🇮🇳

 

Year of birth: 1959

Application approved: 16.01.2018

Info: Appointed to the board of directors of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), a UAE government body, in 2004.

Bagri is currently the chairman of the DFSA’s Governance & Nominations Committee.

Related applicants: Spouse also acquired Cypriot citizenship on 12.02.2019.

Indian nationals are not allowed to hold dual citizenship.

Maleksabet Ebrahimi

Iran 🇮🇷

 

Year of birth: 1952

Application approved: 06.11.2018

Info: On an Interpol red-notice, along with his son, Mehdi. Wanted by Iran for misappropriation, breach of trust, money laundering, fraud, forgery and counterfeiting and leading an organised criminal group.

He faced trial in Canada in 2019 for money laundering of proceeds of sanctioned oil sales. Both men deny the charges and say they compiled with Iranian and Cypriot law.

Adilbek Sarsenov

Kazakhstan 🇰🇿

 

Адильбек САРСЕНОВ

Year of birth: 1973

Application approved: 07.05.2019

Info: On the board of directors of the state-owned telecoms company Kazakhtelecom (2010-2018).

Related applicants: His wife, Gulnara, also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Taha Mikati

Lebanon 🇱🇧

  

Year of birth: 1944

Application approved: 03.07.2018

Estimated net worth: $2.3bn

Info: Brother of Najib Mikati, prime minister of Lebanon (2011-2014).

Taha and Najib share a business empire which began selling satellite phones at the height of the Lebanese civil war.

Today they share ownership of the M1 group, which owns stakes in South African telecom firm MTN and real estate in New York, London and Monaco.

Related applicants: Three of Mikati’s family members also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Alexei Ananiev

Russia 🇷🇺

    

Алексей Ананьев

Year of birth: 1964

Application approved: 07.03.2017

Estimated net worth: $1.4bn

Info: Alexei Ananiev’s fortunes have changed since he was named in Forbes’ 2017 Billionaires List

He was placed on Russia’s international wanted list in September 2019, along with his brother Dmitry, who also acquired Cypriot citizenship in 2017. The Ananievs were charged with embezzlement and money laundering at Promsvyazbank, the bank they founded together.

Dmitry held political office as a senator between 2006 and 2013.

Both brothers have also been targeted by Ukrainian sanctions since March 2019.

Related applicants: Alexei’s son, Nikolay, and Dmitry also acquired Cypriot citizenship through the scheme.

Galina Antipina

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Галина Антипина

Year of birth: 1959

Application approved: 13.04.2018

Info: Held political office as a deputy for Villozsky Rural Settlement (2009-2014).

Related applicants: Her husband, Leonid Kvasniuk, head of LenRusStroy construction company, also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Ali Beglov

Russia 🇷🇺

  

Али Беглов

Also known as: Alik Tartarin, “Алик Татарин”

Year of birth: 1961

Application approved: 19.12.2018

Info: Former director-general of Lukoil-Bunker.

Served a two-year prison sentence for extortion (1990-1992).

In 2007, Beglov attended the funeral of notorious St Petersburg gangster, Artur Kzhizhevich.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Vitaly Buzoverya

Russia 🇷🇺

   

Виталий Бузоверя

Year of birth: 1974

Application approved: 22.05.2018

Info: Senior vice president of the state-owned Russian bank VTB, sanctioned by the United States and the EU following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Buzoverya is one of three senior executives from the bank who gained Cypriot passports on the same day and all invested in the Coral Seas property development.

Related applicants: Buzoverya’s wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Evgeniy Dod

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Евгений Дод

Year of birth: 1973

Application approved: 28.09.2016

Info: Executive-director of RusHydro (2009-2015), where he was a “Representative of the Russian Federation”.

Related applicants: His wife and child also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Vitaly Evdokimenko

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Виталий Евдокименко

Year of birth: 1962

Application approved: 19.03.2018

Info: CEO of Russian Federal Freight Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned Russian Railways (2010-2015).

Related applicants: His wife and two children also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Nikolay Gornovskiy

Russia 🇷🇺

Николай Горновский

Year of birth: 1958

Application approved: 10.06.2019

Info: Former Gazprom executive, wanted by Russia on abuse of power charges. Fled to the UK, from where Russia has repeatedly tried and failed to have him extradited.

Mikhail Yurevich

Russia 🇷🇺

   

Михаил Юрьевич

Year of birth: 1969

Application approved: 13.09.2016

Info: As a politician Yurevich held a seat in Russia’s State Duma before becoming the governor of the industrial Chelyabinsk Oblast region from 2010 to 2014.

In May 2017 he was put on Russia’s international wanted list, accused of accepting bribes from local ministers and businesses as well as slandering regional officials.

The Cyprus Papers reveal that Yurevich also sponsored his parents’ application for Cypriot citizenship in November 2017. They act as directors in his various companies.

Yurevich has also been subject to Ukrainian sanctions since May 2018.

Related applicants: His parents also acquired Cypriot citizenship on 01/12/2017

Timur Khayrutdinov

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Тимур Хайрутдинов

Year of birth: 1974

Application approved: 10.06.2019

Info: Trade representative of the Republic of Tatarstan in Dubai.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Vladimir Khristenko

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Владимир Христенко

Year of birth: 1981

Application approved: 25.05.2018

Info: President of biopharmaceutical company Nanolek, which is currently developing a vaccine for Covid-19.

His stepmother, Tatyana Golikova, is currently one of the deputy prime ministers of Russia and a former aide to Vladimir Putin.

Khristenko’s father Viktor Khristenko also held various government roles, including deputy prime minister, minister of finance and minister of energy and industry. Viktor also served on the board of directors of several state-owned companies.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Aleksei Kordichev

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Алексей Кордичев

Year of birth: 1978

Application approved: 23.10.2018

Info: As CEO of Siberia’s Vostochny Bank (2015-2017), Kordichev is one of six men accused of embezzling $37m from the bank’s shareholders.

He was arrested in Moscow on February 15, 2019 and as of May 2020, was still under house arrest.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Alexey Kulichenko

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Алексей Куличенко

Year of birth: 1974

Application approved: 25.05.2018

Info: A senior executive of Russia’s third-largest steel company, Severstal, sanctioned by Ukraine following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Alexander Lavlentsev

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Александр Лавленцев

Year of birth: 1957

Application approved: 08.02.2019

Info: Founder of construction firm ARKS.

Alexander’s son, Vladimir, was the deputy governor of St Petersburg between 2013 and 2014, and then the chief federal inspector of Moscow from 2015 to 2018.

Related applicants: His wife and daughter also acquired Cypriot passports.

Sergei Lomakin

Russia 🇷🇺

Сергей Ломакин

Year of birth: 1973

Application approved: 31.03.2018

Info: Founder and owner of FixPrice dollar stores and owner of Cypriot football club Pafos FC and current Latvian champions, Riga FC. Reportedly showed an interest in buying a stake in Arsenal.

Put on Russia’s Federal Wanted List in September 2016 and was subsequently charged with embezzlement of a loan of $123m.

Andrey Mityukov

Russia 🇷🇺

Андрей Митюков

Year of birth: 1967

Application approved: 25.05.2018

Info: Mityukov is on the board of directors at Russian steel company, Severstal, which has been sanctioned by Ukraine since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Andrey Molchanov

Russia 🇷🇺

  

Андрей Молчанов

Year of birth: 1971

Application approved: 04.10.2017

Estimated net worth: $850m

Info: Represented the Leningrad Region in Russia’s upper chamber of parliament (2008-2013).

In January 2018, Molchanov made the United States Treasury’s “Oligarchs List” of persons who are close to Vladimir Putin.

His father, Yuri Molchanov, was the KGB resident at Leningrad State University, where Vladimir Putin worked as his assistant in 1990. They later became business partners.

Related applicants: Andrey’s son and mother also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Vadim Moshkovich

Russia 🇷🇺

  

Вадим Мошкович

Year of birth: 1967

Application approved: 15.02.2017

Estimated net worth: $1.7bn

Info: Member of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, until October 2015.

Currently chairman of farming conglomerate Rusagro and reportedly Russia’s 57th richest person.

In 2018, Moshkovich made the United States Treasury’s “Oligarchs List” of persons who are close to Vladimir Putin.

Related applicants: His son, Evgeni, also acquired a Cypriot passport.

Damir Muginov

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Дамир Мугинов

Year of birth: 1966

Application approved: 27.12.2018

Info: In the same month that he received his Cypriot passport, Muginov became the focus of a criminal prosecution for land fraud.

A year later in July 2019, a district judge dropped the case against him without explanation.

Yury Obodovsky

Russia 🇷🇺

Юрий Ободовский

Year of birth: 1970

Application approved: 07.05.2019

Info: Obodovsky is reportedly close to the former president of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, who is himself a long-time associate of Vladimir Putin.

Added to a Russian wanted list in October 2018 accused of paying bribes to cover up corrupt business contracts with state companies including Russian Railways.

Reportedly hiding out in “one of the most luxurious resorts in the United States”.

Under investigation when he acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Andrey Oskolkov

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Андрей Осколков

Year of birth: 1964

Application approved: 23.10.2018

Info: Deputy of the state council for Russia’s Udmurt Republic (1999-2017).

Co-owner of the agro-industrial holdings company, Komos Group. In 2017 he was ranked 33rd in a Forbes list of Russia’s wealthy and powerful civil servants.

Related applicants: His wi

Maxim Poletaev

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Максим Полетаев

Year of birth: 1971

Application approved: 26.04.2017

Info: Deputy chairman of Sberbank until 2018. The Russian bank has been the target of US sanctions since September 2014.

Poletaev left Sberbank for RUSAL, an aluminium company owned by billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Related applicants: Poletaev also sponsored his mother’s and and son’s application for Cypriot passports.

Andrey Puchkov

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Андрей Пучков

Year of birth: 1969

Application approved: 23.07.2018

Info: Former co-owner of real estate development company Urban Group.

A year after he received Cypriot citizenship, Puchkov fled Russia and was charged in absentia with abuse of power and defrauding investors in a failed building project.

Related applicants: Puchkov also bought Cypriot citizenship for his wife.

Igor Reva

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Игорь Рева

Year of birth: 1972

Application approved: 03.07.2018

Info: Russia’s deputy minister of economic development (2014-2017).

Related applicants: Reva’s wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Rishat Safin

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Ришат Сафин

Year of birth: 1963

Application approved: 27.09.2017

Info: Formerly held directorships at various oil companies including a subsidiary of Russian giant, Lukoil. He then shortly pursued a career as a pop musician.

His brother, Ralif Safin, was senator for the Siberian republic of Altai (2002-2014). He is reported to be one of Russia’s 200 richest businesspeople, with an estimated net worth of $500m.

Related applicants: Rishat’s wife and two children also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Alexey Soldatov

Russia 🇷🇺

 

Алексей Солдатов

Year of birth: 1951

Application approved: 07.05.2019

Info: Known as “Russia’s Steve Jobs”, Soldatov founded internet service provider Relcom in 1992 and was deputy minister of communications and mass media between (2008-2010).

In December 2019 Soldatov was placed under house arrest and charged with fraud on an especially large scale.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Oleg Tinkov

Russia 🇷🇺

  

Олег Тиньков

Year of birth: 1967

Application approved: 24.04.2018

Estimated net worth: $2.6bn

Info: Founder of Tinkoff Bank, one of the world’s largest online banks, with around 8 million customers in Russia.

In March 2020 Tinkoff was indicted by a US court for filing false tax returns. He is alleged to have concealed $1bn of assets and income.

He was arrested in London and reportedly released on a bail of £20m (approximately $26.4m).

Tinkov is currently in the UK, receiving treatment for Leukaemia. An extradition hearing has been rescheduled for September 2020.

According to Forbes his wealth has increased by 63% during the Covid-19 pandemic from an estimated at $1.6bn to $2.6bn.

Related applicants: Tinkov sponsored the application of his son, who acquired Cypriot citizenship on 23.10.2018.

Victoria Vanurina

Russia 🇷🇺

   

Виктория Ванурина

Year of birth: 1972

Application approved: 22.05.2018

Info: Member of the management board at VTB Bank. The state-owned bank has been targeted by US sanctions since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Vanurina is one of three senior executives from the bank who were all approved for Cypriot passports on the same day. They all invested in the Coral Seas property development.

Related applicants: Her husband also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Alexei Yakovitsky

Russia 🇷🇺

   

Алексей Яковицкий

Year of birth: 1975

Application approved: 22.05.2018

Info: CEO of VTB Capital PLC. The state-owned bank has been targeted by US sanctions since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Yakovitsky is one of three senior executives from the bank who were all approved for Cypriot passports on the same day and all invested in the Coral Seas property development.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Andrey Zhupanov

Russia 🇷🇺

  

Андрей Жупанов

Year of birth: 1971

Application approved: 19.12.2018

Info: Former deputy chairman of Promsvyazbank. Member of the board of directors of Vozrozhdenie Bank.

Two weeks after his Cypriot citizenship was confirmed, Promsvyazbank filed a lawsuit against Zhupanov and nine other former managers of the bank, along with the bank’s former owners, Dmitry and Alexei Ananiev, to recuperate $3.8bn.

The action against Zhupanov personally amounts to $562m.

Related applicants: Zhupanov’s wife, Maria Ochirova, acquired Cypriot citizenship. Her father was chief consultant to the minister of internal affairs and her mother sits on the public council of the FSB, Russia’s secret service.

Mohammed A. H. Jameel

Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦

 

Year of birth: 1958

Application approved: 07.05.2018

Estimated net worth: $5bn

Info: Board member of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, a government body.

Jameel was awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 2014.

Dual citizenship is only allowed under Saudi law with official government approval.

Khalid Ahmed Al Juffali

Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦

  

Year of birth: 1958

Application approved: 18.09.2018

Info: Member of the board of directors, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. Chairman of E. A. Juffali and Brothers, the largest privately-owned enterprise in Saudi Arabia.

Chairman of “KJC”, a privately held investment company which mainly operates in New York City.

Related applicants: Three of Juffali’s children also acquired Cypriot passports.

Dual citizenship is only allowed under Saudi law with official government approval.

Hussain Alnowais

United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

 

Year of birth: 1956

Application approved: 07.05.2019

Info: Senior executive of several state-owned enterprises. On the board of directors of state-owned Emirates Steel and National Petroleum Construction Company “NPCC”.

Highly influential with close links to Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, he has negotiated trade agreements on behalf of the UAE government.

Dual citizenship is not recognised in the laws of the UAE and obtaining a second citizenship is grounds for the involuntary loss of UAE citizenship.

Oleg Bakhmatyuk

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  

Олег Бахматюк

Year of birth: 1974

Application approved: 25.05.2018

Estimated net wort: $1bn (2011)

Info: Former owner of VAB Bank and CEO of Ukrlandfarming Plc, Ukraine’s largest agricultural company.

Placed on a wanted list on November 22, 2019, for embezzlement of around $43m from the National Bank of Ukraine. Bakhmatyuk denies all the charges and says that the criminal case against him is “a complete fabrication and politically motivated”.

Bakhmatyuk was arrested in absentia in May 2020.

A month later the General Prosecutor’s Office was ordered to close the criminal case against him. That decision has since been overturned and the case reopened.

He remains on the wanted list.

Related applicants: Oleg’s sister, Natalia Vasilyuk, who holds senior positions in his companies, also acquired Cypriot citizenship on the same day.

Under Ukrainian law it is illegal to hold a second citizenship

Liudmila Lebedeva

Ukraine 🇺🇦

 

Людмила Лебедєва

Year of birth: 1965

Application approved: 31.01.2018

Info: Wife of Ukraine’s former defence minister, Pavlo Lebedev.

Pavlo is now a defendant in several criminal cases in Ukraine and lives in Russia-occupied Crimea. He is accused of using security forces to suppress the 2014 Euromaidan protests as well as stealing billions of dollars of military property and equipment between 2004 and 2014.

Related applicants: Their daughter also acquired Cypriot citizenship. Both she and Liudmila are joint owners of companies in Crimea.

Under Ukrainian law it is illegal to hold a second citizenship.

Vadim Shulman

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  

Вадим Шульман

Year of birth: 1960

Application approved: 11.07.2019

Info: Oligarch who made his money in chemicals and telecoms. Shulman has headed Ukraine’s tennis federation and even paid for an auditorium named after him at Oxford University.

In July 2019 he was placed on a wanted list for money laundering, just two weeks after his Cypriot passport was approved. The Paradise Papers also reveal Shulman’s network of offshore companies.

Shulman also holds Russian and Israeli citizenship.

Under Ukrainian law it is illegal to hold a second citizenship.

Natalia Vasylyuk

Ukraine 🇺🇦

 

Наталія Василюк

Year of birth: 1983

Application approved: 25.05.2018

Info: CEO and on the board of directors of Avangard Agrico, Europe’s largest producer of chicken eggs.

The company was founded by her brother, Oleg Bakhmatyuk, who also appears in the Cyprus Papers. As former head of the supervisory board of VAB Bank, she was placed on a wanted list on November 22, 2019 for assisting her brother with embezzlement and money laundering amounting to around $43m.

She acquired Cypriot citizenship on the same day as Bakhmatyuk.

Under Ukrainian law it is illegal to hold a second citizenship.

Anatoly Yakovynets

Ukraine 🇺🇦

Анатолій Яковинець

Year of birth: 1966

Application approved: 07.03.2017

Info: First deputy chief of Ukraine’s tax police (2011-2014).

Head of financial investigations, Ministry of Revenue and Duties (2013).

Related applicants: Yakovynet’s daughter also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Under Ukrainian law it is illegal to hold a second citizenship.

Mykola Zlochevsky

Ukraine 🇺🇦

    

Микола Злочевський

Year of birth: 1966

Application approved:: 01.12.2017

Estimated net Worth: $535m (2017)

Info: Minister for Natural Resources (2010-2012).
Member of the Security and Defence Council (2012-2014).

He has also been on a Russian sanctions list since November 2018

Owns Ukrainian gas and oil producers through his Cyprus registered company Burisma Holdings.

Zlochevsky has been investigated since 2012 for money laundering, tax evasion and since 2018 for theft of government funds.

In June 2020 Ukraine’s anti-corruption squad seized $6m of cash, which they claim was intended to bribe officials to close their investigation into Burisma.

Related applicants: Mykola’s daughters, Anna and Karina, also acquired Cypriot passports.

Under Ukrainian law it is illegal to hold a second citizenship.

Volodymyr Zubyk

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  

Володимир Зубик

Year of birth: 1958

Application approved: 09.10.2018

Estimated net Worth: $95m (Forbes, 2020)

Info: Member of Ukraine’s national assembly the Verkhovna Rada (2006-2019), meaning he was an elected official at the time he acquired his Cypriot citizenship.

Related applicants: Zubyk’s wife and daughter also acquired Cypriot passports.

Under Ukrainian law it is illegal to hold a second citizenship.

Leonardo González Dellán

Venezuela 🇻🇪

 

Year of birth: 1966

Application approved: 04.01.2019

Info: A former president of Banco Industrial de Venezuela, Dellan was sanctioned by the United States on January 8, 2019, four days after his golden passport was approved.

He is described as a “testaferro”, a front person for the Venezuelan state, accused of helping launder $2.4bn.

Phạm Phú Quốc

Vietnam 🇻🇳

 

Year of birth: 1969

Application approved: 12.12.2018

Info: Pham is chair of the board of one of Vietnam’s biggest trade companies, IPC.

He is also a member of Congress for Ho Chi Minh city.

Related applicants: Pham’s wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Vietnamese politicians are banned from holding dual citizenship.

Phạm Nhật Vũ

Vietnam 🇻🇳

   

Year of birth: 1973

Application approved: 06.05.2019

Info: Brother of “Vietnam’s first billionaire”, Pham Nhat Vu was charged and facing trial for bribery when his Cypriot passport was approved in May 2019. He was subsequently convicted and is currently serving a three year jail sentence in Vietnam.

Related applicants: His wife also acquired Cypriot citizenship.

TO BE CONTINUED

Unvealed – Google AdSense Leaked by Ex-Google Employer

Unvealed – Google AdSense Leaked by Ex-Google Employer

I am a former Google employee and I am writing this to leak information to the public of what I
witnessed and took part in while being an employee. My position was to deal with AdSense accounts,
more specifically the accounts of publishers (not advertisers). I was employed at Google for a period of
several years in this capacity.

Having signed many documents such as NDA’s and non-competes, there are many repercussions for me,
especially in the form of legal retribution from Google. I have carefully planned this leak to coincide with
certain factors in Google such as waiting for the appropriate employee turn around so that my identity
could not be discovered.

To sum it up for everyone, I took part in what I (and many others) would consider theft of money from
the publishers by Google, and from direct orders of management. There were many AdSense employees
involved, and it spanned many years, and I hear it still is happening today except on a much wider scale.
No one on the outside knows it, if they did, the FBI and possibly IRS would immediately launch an
investigation, because what they are doing is so inherently illegal and they are flying completely under
the radar.

It began in 2009. Everything was perfectly fine prior to 2009, and in fact it couldn’t be more perfect from
an AdSense employees perspective, but something changed.

Google Bans and Ban Criteria

Before December 2012:

In the first quarter of 2009 there was a “sit-down” from the AdSense division higher ups to talk about
new emerging issues and the role we (the employees in the AdSense division needed to play. It was a
very long meeting, and it was very detailed and intense. What it boiled down to was that Google had
suffered some very serious losses in the financial department several months earlier. They kept saying
how we “needed to tighten the belts” and they didn’t want it to come from Google employees pockets.
So they were going to (in their words) “carry out extreme quality control on AdSense publishers”. When
one of my fellow co-workers asked what they meant by that. Their response was that AdSense itself
hands out too many checks each month to publishers, and that the checks were too large and that
needed to end right away. Many of the employees were not pleased about this (like myself). But they
were successful in scaring the rest into thinking it would be their jobs and their money that would be on
the line if they didn’t participate. The meeting left many confused as to how this was going to happen.
What did they mean by extreme quality control? A few other smaller meetings occur with certain key
people in the AdSense division that furthered the idea and procedure they planned on implementing.
There were lots of rumors and quiet talking amongst the employees, there was lots of speculations,
some came true and some didn’t. But the word was that they were planning to cut off a large portion of
publisher’s payments.

After that point there was a running gag amongst fellow co-workers where we would walk by each other
and whisper “Don’t be evil, pft!” and roll our eyes.

What happened afterwards became much worse. Their “quality control” came into full effect. Managers
pushed for wide scale account bans, and the first big batch of bans happened in March of 2009. The
main reason, the publishers made too much money. But something quite devious happened. We were
told to begin banning accounts that were close to their payout period (which is why account bans never
occur immediately after a payout). The purpose was to get that money owed to publishers back to
Google AdSense, while having already served up the ads to the public.

This way the advertiser’s couldn’t claim we did not do our part in delivering their ads and ask for money
back. So in a sense, we had thousands upon thousands of publishers deliver ads we knew they were
never going to get paid for.

Google reaped both sides of the coin, got money from the advertisers, used the publishers, and didn’t
have to pay them a single penny. We were told to go and look into the publishers accounts, and if any
publisher had accumulated earnings exceeding $5000 and was near a payout or in the process of a
payout, we were to ban the account right away and reverse the earnings back. They kept saying it was
needed for the company, and that most of these publishers were ripping Google off anyways, and that
their gravy train needed to end. Many employees were not happy about this. A few resigned over it.
I did not. I stayed because I had a family to support, and secondly I wanted to see how far they would
go.

From 2009 to 2012 there were many more big batches of bans. The biggest of all the banning sessions
occurred in April of 2012. The AdSense division had enormous pressure from the company to make up
for financial losses, and for Google’s lack of reaching certain internal financial goals for the quarter prior.
So the push was on. The employees felt really uneasy about the whole thing, but we were threatened
with job losses if we didn’t enforce the company’s wishes. Those who voiced concerned or issue were
basically ridiculed with “not having the company’s best interest in mind” and not being “team players”.
Morale in the division was at an all-time low. The mood of the whole place changed quite rapidly. It no
longer was a fun place to work.

The bans of April 2012 came fast and furious. Absolutely none of them were investigated, nor were they
justified in any way. We were told to get rid of as many of the accounts with the largest
checks/payouts/earnings waiting to happen. No reason, just do it, and don’t question it. It was heart
wrenching seeing all that money people had earned all get stolen from them. And that’s what I saw it as,
it was a robbery of the AdSense publishers. Many launched appeals, complaints, but it was futile
because absolutely no one actually took the time to review the appeals or complaints. Most were simply
erased without even being opened, the rest were deposited into the database, never to be touched
again.

Several publishers launched legal actions which were settled, but Google had come up with a new policy
to deal with situations such as that because it was perceived as a serious problem to be avoided.
So they came up with a new policy.

After December 2012: The New Policy

The new policy; “shelter the possible problem makers, and fuck the rest” (those words were actually
said by a Google AdSense exec) when he spoke about the new procedure and policy for “Account
Quality Control”.

The new policy was officially called AdSense Quality Control Color Codes (commonly called AQ3C by
employees). What it basically was a categorization of publisher accounts. Those publisher’s that could
do the most damage by having their account banned were placed in a VIP group that was to be left
alone. The rest of the publishers would be placed into other groupings accordingly.
The new AQ3C also implemented “quality control” quotas for the account auditors, so if you didn’t meet
the “quality control” target (aka account bans) you would be called in for a performance review.
There were four “groups” publishers could fall into if they reached certain milestones.

They were:

Red Group: Urgent Attention Required
Any AdSense account that reaches the $10,000/month mark is immediately flagged (unless they are part
of the Green Group).
– In the beginning there were many in this category, and most were seen as problematic and were seen
as abusing the system by Google. So every effort was taken to bring their numbers down.
– They are placed in what employees termed “The Eagle Eye”, where the “AdSense Eagle Eye Team”
would actively and constantly audit their accounts and look for any absolute reason for a ban. Even if
the reason was far-fetched, or unsubstantiated, and unprovable, the ban would occur. The “Eagle Eye
Team” referred to a group of internal account auditors whose main role was to constantly monitor
publisher’s accounts and sites.
– A reason has to be internally attached to the account ban. The problem was that notifying the
publisher for the reason is not a requirement, even if the publisher asks. The exception: The exact
reason must be provided if a legal representative contacts Google on behalf of the account holder.
– But again, if a ban is to occur, it must occur as close to a payout period as possible with the most
amount of money accrued/earned.

Yellow Group: Serious Attention Required
Any AdSense account that reaches the $5,000/month mark is flagged for review (unless they are part of
the Green Group).
– All of the publisher’s site(s)/account will be placed in queue for an audit.
– Most of the time the queue is quite full so most are delayed their audit in a timely fashion.
– The second highest amount of bans occur at this level.
– A reason has to be internally attached to the account ban. Notifiying the publisher for the reason is not
a requirement, even if the publisher asks. The exception: The exact reason must be provided if a legal
representative contacts Google on behalf of the account holder.
– But again, if a ban is to occur, it must occur as close to a payout period as possible with the most
amount of money accrued/earned.

Blue Group: Moderate Attention Required
Any AdSense account that reaches the $1,000/month mark is flagged for possible review (unless they
are part of the Green Group).
– Only the main site and account will be place in queue for what is called a quick audit.
– Most bans that occur happen at this level. Main reason is that a reason doesn’t have to be attached to
the ban, so the employees use these bans to fill their monthly quotas. So many are simply a random pick
and click.
– A reason does not have to be internally attached to the account ban. Notifying the publisher for the
reason is not a requirement, even if the publisher asks.
– But again, if a ban is to occur, it must occur as close to a payout period as possible with the most
amount of money accrued.

Green Group: VIP Status (what employees refer to as the “untouchables”)
Any AdSense account associated with an incorporated entity or individual that can inflict serious
damage onto Google by negative media information, rallying large amounts of anti-AdSense support, or
cause mass loss of AdSense publisher support.
– Google employees wanting to use AdSense on their websites were automatically placed in the Green
group. So the database contained many Google insiders and their family members. If you work or
worked for Google and were placed in the category, you stayed in it, even if you left Google. So it
included many former employees. Employees simply had to submit a form with site specific details and
their account info.
– Sites in the Green Group were basically given “carte blanche” to do anything they wanted, even if they
flagrantly went against the AdSense TOS and Policies. That is why you will encounter sites with AdSense,
but yet have and do things completely against AdSense rules.
– Extra care is taken not to interrupt or disrupt these accounts.
– If an employee makes a mistake with a Green Level account they can lose their job. Since it seen as
very grievous mistake.

New Policy 2012 Part 2:

Internal changes to the policy were constant. They wanted to make it more efficient and streamlined.
They saw its current process as having too much human involvement and oversight. They wanted it
more automated and less involved.

So the other part of the new policy change was to incorporate other Google services into assisting the
“quality control” program. What they came up with will anger many users when they find out. It
involved skewing data in Google Analytics. They decided it was a good idea to alter the statistical data
shown for websites. It first began with just altering data reports for Analytics account holders that also
had an AdSense account, but they ran into too many issues and decided it would be simpler just to skew
the report data across the board to remain consistent and implement features globally.
So what this means is that the statistical data for a website using Google Analytics is not even close to
being accurate. The numbers are incredibly deflated. The reasoning behind their decision is that if an
individual links their AdSense account and their Analytics account, the Analytics account can be used to
deflate the earnings automatically without any human intervention. They discovered that if an individual
had an AdSense account then they were also likely to use Google Analytics. So Google used it to their
advantage.

This led to many publishers to actively display ads, without earning any money at all (even to this day).
Even if their actual website traffic was high, and had high click-throughs the data would be automatically
skewed in favor of Google, and at a total loss of publishers. This successfully made it almost impossible
for anyone to earn amounts even remotely close what individuals with similar sites were earning prior
to 2012, and most definitely nowhere near pre-2009 earnings.
Other policy changes also included how to deal with appeals, which still to this day, the large majority
are completely ignored, and why you will rarely get an actual answer as to why your account was
banned and absolutely no way to resolve it.

—-

The BIG Problem (which Google is aware of)
There is an enormous problem that existed for a long time in Google’s AdSense accounts. Many of the
upper management are aware of this problem but do not want to acknowledge or attempt to come up
with a solution to the problem.

It is regarding false clicks on ads. Many accounts get banned for “invalid clicks” on ads. In the past this
was caused by a publisher trying to self inflate click-throughs by clicking on the ads featured on their
website. The servers automatically detect self-clicking with comparison to IP addresses and other such
information, and the persons account would get banned for invalid clicking.

But there was something forming under the surface. A competitor or malicious person would actively go
to their competitor’s website(s) or pick a random website running AdSense and begin multiple-clicking
and overclicking ads, which they would do over and over again. Of course this would trigger an invalid
clicking related ban, mainly because it could not be proven if the publisher was actually behind the
clicking. This was internally referred to as “Click-Bombing”. Many innocent publishers would get caught
up in bans for invalid clicks which they were not involved in and were never told about.

This issue has been in the awareness of Google for a very long time but nothing was done to rectify the
issue and probably never will be. Thus if someone wants to ruin a Google AdSense publishers account,
all you would have to do is go to their website, and start click-bombing their Google Ads over and over
again, it will lead the servers to detect invalid clicks and poof, they get banned. The publisher would be
completely innocent and unaware of the occurrence but be blamed for it anyways.

—-

Their BIG Fear
The biggest fear that Google has about these AdSense procedures and policies is that it will be publicly
discovered by their former publishers who were banned, and that those publishers unite together and
launch an class-action lawsuit.

They also fear those whose primary monthly earnings are from AdSense, because in many countries if a
person claims the monthly amount to their tax agency and they state the monthly amount and that they
are earning money from Google on a monthly basis, in certain nations technically Google can be seen as
an employer. Thus, an employer who withholds payment of earnings, can be heavily fined by
government bodies dealing with labor and employment. And if these government bodies dealing with
labor and employment decide to go after Google, then it would get very ugly, very quickly ….. that is on
top of a class-action lawsuit.