The controversial “Golden Passport” scheme has emerged when a major London company has opened a “huge increase” in the demand for its services.
Locke Hester, managing director of Knightsbridge Capital Partners, told Forbes that his European passport program is increasing by 70% on year-to-year basis.
After the joining of Knightsbridge in an investigation of The Sunday Times and Channel Four, it has been found that the UK’s investment visa and European passport-mediated companies for foreign billionaires were claiming that they were governmental for their customers Check and avoid guarantees.
Knightsbridge currently sells passports from Cyprus, which will allow foreign investors and their families to travel without visa within 163 countries, to invest 2.2 million dollars (2 million euros) in local property or wealth.
The island has received 7.4 billion dollars (6.6 billion euros) from passport sales, but the plan has also attracted the wrath of the European Commission and Economic Cooperation and Development Organization (OECD).
According to Hexter, economic development and political instability in emerging markets produces demand for so-called gold passport investment programs.
“If you get a few billion, many of these customers will get citizenship in one country, living in other countries as a means of reducing the passport and elsewhere,” he says.
Nigeria is a prime example of a country where many people are very rich. But with political instability, they still love their country … and still need to develop an emergency plan.
“Nigeria is currently classified as one of the world’s most corrupt countries by the Transparency International Group, in which there are billions of oil fields looted by political and military elites.
Hexter said in a defensive tone that whether the Golden Passport Industry and his company helped criminals to avoid justice and hide their illegal profits.
Industry “can get a bit of humiliation because it supports people with dishonest high net worth,” the allegation is far from the truth as possible. ”
Knightsbridge Capital “will not touch a politically exposed person or any person” where he calls “, even a question that his money could have been illegally acquired.” “His client’s check (KYC) is” strict “and the proper labor of the European Union is” very strict. ”
However, for those fighting for global corruption, through the investment plans, this citizen is not as benign as the related London companies are worried.
Ben Coudock, senior researcher from Transparency International, challenges whether British and European money-laundering and basic information exams are effective in identifying corrupt business leaders and politicians.
The investigation of Sunday Times and Channel 4 has shown how in private sector professionals in London have acquired a so-called “Golden Visa” for a member of Colonel Gaddafi’s family of Libyan dictator, as well as Thailand, Egypt and Angola With suspicious applicants.
An immigration expert was dismissed as “easy” in the internal ministry of anti-corruption, claiming that the responsible officers only relied on the names of Gogling.
“Our research has often found that companies and professionals provide services to individuals inadvertently or deliberately at risk, allowing them to harm their money and reputation,” said Cudock Forbes.
They say that demand for citizenship is done because those who benefit from political relations in unstable countries often “need to avoid and enjoy the fire of their corruption when they find themselves unfit.”
He said that the British passport was still seen as a “trademark of public reliability”, warning that poor quality checks made for those using these schemes were “money laundering” apart from suspicious property Allow to invest, and appears to be more respectable and legitimate. It really is.
Moldova says no
At the end of last week, I saw one of the largest companies in the Golden Passport Sector, Henley & Partners, which was one of its plans, which allowed investors to get visa-free access across the Schengen Area throughout Europe. , Which was suspended by the Government of Moldova.
Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries and it is closed outside the European Union, but its citizens have the right to travel without a visa through and through the commercial block.
The former Communist State was stripped of citizenship and a passport for only $ 112,000 (100,000 euros) from investors, but its newly elected government decided to review the program.
Dr. Henley & Partners CEO George Stephen issued a statement saying that he “invested a lot of time and capital in Moldova” and still “believe that this investment will generate crores of capital over time for the Moldovan economy.