|Lawmaker Pham Phu Quoc holds both Vietnamese and Cypriot citizenships
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained an array of leaked documents which reveals that approximately 2,500 people from over 70 countries paid to become Cypriot citizens between 2017 and 2019. In order to get Cypriot citizenship, each applicant is required to invest a sum of at least EUR2 million, equivalent to roughly US$2.5 million, in a project in the EU nation.
Listed in the leaked documents known as the Cyprus Papers, are two Vietnamese applicants, one of whom is Pham Phu Quoc, an incumbent deputy to the NA.
In response to the story, Quoc told Tuoi Tre newswire that he had become a Cypriot citizenship in mid-2018 after acquiring the status through his family’s sponsorship. In addition, he also hit back at rumours that he had purchased Cypriot citizenship for US$2.5 million.
Tran Van Tuy, head of the NA Deputies Committee, the body that helps the legislature with personnel affairs, said that he had only recently learned about the case through the media, while his committee has yet to receive an official report on the matter.
The committee is in the process of verifying the case and will work alongside relevant agencies before reporting it the matter to the Standing Committee of the NA that will ultimately make the final decision, Tuy said.
Following the release of the Cyprus Papers, many lawmakers have raised questions concerning whether or not deputy Quoc’s ownership of dual nationality violates Vietnamese law, and if he was required to have informed the legislature about his case.
Lawyer Dang Van Cuong, head of the Chinh Phap Law Office under the Hanoi Bar Association, says that the current Vietnamese law does not permit NA deputies to hold multiple nationalities.
According to the law, a deputy to the Vietnamese legislature must be an individual who holds only Vietnamese nationality. Therefore, those who are dual nationals must either renounce their citizenship, or quit their role as NA deputies.
The latest case is not the first time that a NA deputy has been found to hold dual nationality. Back in 2016, NA deputy Nguyen Thi Nguyet Huong, 46, was dismissed from the national legislative body after she was found to have acquired Maltese citizenship.