Bulgarian citizenship has been available for sale for eight years now, but the scheme hasn’t brought any significant foreign investment in the country, a journalistic investigation by EURACTIV Bulgaria has found.
The EU said Monday (19 October) it will begin legal action against Cyprus and Malta over their controversial "golden passport" schemes for foreign investors, which critics say have been exploited by criminals.
The number of British entrepreneurs looking to "buy" citizenship from countries offering visa-free access to the European Union has risen sharply, investment migration firms say, as prospects of a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the bloc darken.
Cyprus's audit office said on Thursday (24 September) thousands of passports could have been granted without proper authorisation under the island's citizenship-for-investment scheme - a programme critics fear could be used by money-launderers and other criminals.
Maltese police arrested former prime minister Joseph Muscat's chief of staff Keith Schembri Tuesday (22 September), as part of a probe into alleged kickbacks connected to the sale of so-called golden passports.
Citizenship and residence-for-pay schemes continue to be widespread across the EU, according to a new report, which calls on the European Commission to propose EU-wide rules to phase out golden passports while taking action against governments that operate schemes in breach of EU law.
A legal technicality has led Cyprus to temporarily halt a process to strip citizenship from 26 individuals who benefitted from a secretive passports-for-investment scheme, lawmakers said on Monday (10 February).
The EU should be ready to impose further sanctions on Russia if the country continues to violate international law, EU lawmakers said in a resolution adopted in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (12 March).
The European Union urged member countries on Wednesday (23 January) to crack down on schemes granting "golden visas and passports" to foreign investors, warning they can bring corruption and money laundering in their wake.
The European Commission will warn that schemes in EU states to sell citizenship or residence to wealthy individuals could help foreign organised crime groups infiltrate the bloc and increase the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.
With its cash-for-passport practices, Europe has opened its door to the criminal and corrupt, with some member states running a lucrative industry of trading citizenship for money, said a new report by Transparency International and Global Witness.
The European Union's justice commissioner said on Monday (23 April) she will visit Malta in the coming weeks to look at its anti-money laundering moves and check on how an investigation is going into the murder of an investigative journalist.
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