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.
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.
The European Parliament approved a report during its plenary session requesting EU institutions and member states to adopt measures against money laundering, fiscal fraud and tax evasion, EURACTIV's media partner Euroefe reports.
The case of the Russian oligarch Sergei Adoniev is a good example for the obscure ways Bulgarian citizenship is being granted to paying clients. Free Europe Bulgaria broke the story on Tuesday (22 January) a day before the EU Commission will issue a warning against “golden passports” schemes.
Bulgarian prosecutors said Monday (29 October) they have broken up a scam run by state officials which had enabled thousands of foreigners to obtain Bulgarian passports for cash -- and with them visa-free travel across the EU.
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.
Hungary has sold visas to Russian businessmen in exchange for hundreds of thousands of euros. Permits were also given to the family of the Kremlin's foreign intelligence chief, who is covered by European sanctions. EURACTIV Poland's media partner Gazeta Wyborcza reports.
Stung by criticism it has been selling European Union passports for cash, Cyprus has tightened vetting procedures in a scheme that grants Cypriot citizenship to investors, the finance minister said yesterday (22 May).