Cyprus: No 'golden passport' to people rejected before

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus' finance minister says his government is tightening rules for the country's lucrative scheme granting passports to wealthy investors, making it ineligible to anyone who has already been rejected by another European Union country running similar plans.

The EU last month warned Cyprus and other countries to beef up checks for the passports amid concern they could be flouting security, money laundering and tax laws.

Harris Georgiades said Wednesday all applicants will be vetted by an international agency and will be required to hold a Schengen visa permitting travel within the EU. Applicants will also have to make compulsory contributions to affordable housing and research and development programs to boost economic growth.

Georgiades said 1,864 investors have been approved since 2013, generating 6.6 billion euros.