Golden passports give you access to the entire European Union. Some EU member states have put in place regulations to try to make money from wealthy individuals. Many managed to live a life of luxury. There is no ban in the European Union on this phenomenon.
Ulrik Åshuvud of Transparency International Sweden believes that many are now taking advantage of the opportunity with golden passports.
– Here we have people moving freely without control by showing the EU passport, and then I think they lose control, he says.
EU countries that sell golden passports
* Hungary stopped selling residence permits in July 2018. Graphics: DN. Source: Transparency International.
by investment or In order to bring money to certain countries in Europe, you will in return receive a citizenship or residence permit. Some of the countries that have been in stormy weather around the Golden Passes are Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria.
TI did a great job survey On passports 2019. The audit showed, for example, that Cyprus earned 4.8 billion euros on this system. Since 2013, they have sold more than 3,000 cards.
Ulrik Schofud of Sweden’s Transparency International says the money used for citizenship payments is difficult to determine.
We are witnessing the risks of money laundering and the risks of financial corruption. Simply criminal money. As a country, you are then an aid to simply enabling money laundering.
Countries have made a lot of money from golden passports
Average annual income up to 2019. Different countries have sold golden passports for different periods of time. The starting years for each country are indicated in parentheses.
Footnote: Only Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta and Austria sell citizenship. Graphics: DN. Source: Transparency International.
Transparency International He takes this very seriously. For many years, they have tried to inform EU parliamentarians and the European Commission about the problem. There is also no ban at the moment.
The issue of golden passports will be brought up in the European Parliament next week. In a report to the European Parliament Committee For civil liberties (Liby Committee), golden passports have been criticized. Evin Incir (S) is one of the Swedish parliamentarians in the European Union working on this issue.
– In my opinion, it is crazy to be able to buy a golden passport and visa, says Evin Incir (S).
They took a strong stand on golden passports in the committee. She believes that the system is widely used for corruption purposes.
The regimes must be abolished because we live in a union based on democracy, human rights and the fight against corruption. We see how the Russian oligarchs and Chinese villains have gained access to our union in a way that shouldn’t have been possible.
EU parliamentarians are now working hard to see change.
We offer strict regulatory proposals and try to lobby for countries to go through rigorous background checks. Abeer Al-Sahlani, (center), a member of the European Parliament on Libby’s committee, says the applicants have no criminal background and no evil intentions with their money.
Money laundering is a major problem. Ulrik Åshuvud believes that it will be difficult for banks across Europe to see money laundering taking place via golden passports.
– It becomes more difficult in the banking system to follow these people, because then they hold citizenship or residence permit. Then they have the same connection to Russian operations, but it appears to be an EU operation. Then the difficulty lies in putting a red flag on them in the money laundering system.
Transparency International has long referred to the problem of selling citizenship. The hearing was not what they wanted. The fact that the issue is now being brought up in Parliament is a positive thing, but Shufud thinks that is a bit too late.
– That’s right, it’s good, but it could have happened much earlier.
This is where the golden passport buyers come from
Graphics: DN. Source: Transparency International.
In your opinion, why do states sell citizenship and residency permits?
– It’s a good question, countries think that they are attracting capital to the country for investment. It is hoped that new jobs will be created, that a company or service company will establish itself. Perhaps that was the idea behind it. To what extent this has led to since then, returning the money to the taxpayer, no one really knows.
It’s hard to give up on those who already hold citizenship, says Christian Fernandez, who researches civil rights issues at Malmö University.
– I’ve seen some lawsuits where you can get rid of your citizenship. In this case, the legal basis is whether you lied in your application, or committed a crime against humanity.
– These are dubious legal reasons, you shouldn’t be able to revoke citizenship for something you did after you got it, says Christian Fernandez.
It is also crucial.
– In purely justice and legitimacy, it is abhorrent. Some immigrants have to take a lot of language tests etc while others can buy a country.
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