29.10.2020

Why citizenship by investment a thing of the past

As you might expect, the most popular among affluent Russians are passports of Western countries. ‘ve been traditional destinations: Malta and Cyprus. For example, to obtain citizenship of Malta will need to invest €800 000 and buy a property worth at least €350 000, and in the case of Cyprus it is necessary to buy the property in the amount of €500 000.

According to data of the Bank of Russia, net capital outflow this year rose three times to $42.2 billion let’s face it: these figures clearly indicate that the Russians do not believe in a successful future of their own country. Especially revealing is against this background is the rapid growth of demand for second citizenship or foreign views of residency, and for many the presence of “alternate aerodrome” now is not a question of luxury or a goal that can be postponed, but rather a matter of survival in the conditions when it is unclear what may happen in the coming months.

In the pursuit of more citizenship there is nothing wrong. For example, in the United States and Western Europe are especially popular passports of various island Nations such as Vanuatu. In the rich countries of the Persian Gulf, many locals have long got European passports, which are not particularly trying to advertise. Despite the presence of incredible riches from the sale of natural resource rents in the Arabian monarchies maintained a high level of nervousness over their own future, and no wonder with such neighbors as Iran and Iraq. This, perhaps, they have a lot in common with Russia.

West of the castle

Feeling that the “alternate aerodrome” it will be even harder, affecting the Russian political and economic elite. According to consulting company Knight Frank, since the beginning of this year the number of Russians wishing to obtain a passport of Cyprus and Malta in exchange for the purchase of real estate grew by 40%, and according to the list on the website of the government of Malta, citizens of the country were more than 730 people with Russian names.

As in the case with Western countries, Russia is also beginning to gain popularity citizenship various island States and dubious of the Caribbean. Lately especially popular citizenship island States like Vanuatu, which are part of the Commonwealth of Nations and have visa-free travel to the EU and other Western countries.

It is noteworthy that the choice of nationality, the Russians continue to focus on the principle of mobility. Many hope that this will make it easier to travel to developed countries and to conduct business with them. However, the situation is changing and, apparently, the principle of mobility must be the last in the list, it should focus on the Russians in search of “alternate aerodrome”.

Recently, the Brussels draws more and more attention to the so-called “Golden passports” that were issued literally in mass quantity by the authorities of Greece, Cyprus and Malta. As a result, the passports seized many people, the origin of whose income is doubtful. Taking into account numerous appeals from such organizations as Transparency International and influential European officials, there is no doubt that the situation with citizenship change much in the near future. Under the gun will inevitably be even those who received the documents for many years ago, and there are doubts that many will be able to pass security vetting within the framework of the laws on combating money laundering and corruption.

Today there is no difficulty in revoking the citizenship even after you get it. In Cyprus according to the local law, a naturalized citizen may be deprived of the passport if it was obtained by concealment of material facts, especially their own income. Finally, citizenship can be deprived for the actions, which testify to relations with the enemies of the country, within 5 years after naturalization. Similar principles work in Malta, where citizenship may be deprived for seven years after receiving it.

Not rosy things are in the UK. Recently the British media declared that local authorities are willing to reconsider 3000 investment visa, and in case of detection of evidence of financial irregularities, the documents promise to cancel, and this certainly will not stop. Against this background, is particularly significant recent refusal of the British authorities to grant a visa to Roman Abramovich, with the result that he immediately acquired an Israeli passport. Unclear and that the fate of the wife of a banker of Azerbaijan, which has spent about 16 million pounds ($21 million) in Harrods. This is the first case when the British authorities used the new law against corruption.

Russian – so the spy

I have confidence that in dealing with the citizenship by investment more all under attack it will be the citizens of Russia and some countries of the former USSR. These visas bring billions of dollars to the budgets of Western countries, and it is unlikely they will be willing to give up the flow of money from countries in the Middle East and Asia, where many eager to get a European passport. In the case of Russians, the situation will be quite different, and set the tone will certainly be numerous and recent aggravation of relations, which are even worse today than during the Cold war.

Everything has become even worse before anything will start to improve. The factor of nationality, obviously, does not protect against the stigma of Russian origin. If in Soviet times, dissidents welcomed, but now Russian spy without exaggeration, are practically synonymous. It is difficult to imagine to ever major British tabloids came out with headlines about “Russian-speaking half of the population of the London spy”. This may serve as a significant example of what the attitude of the Russians is changing for the worse. This situation will continue for many years, if not decades.

Amid such fears special indignation causes the work of many agencies that offer citizenship for investment. They continue to assure you that nothing will change, and in the West welcomed as people with money from Russia, and will be welcomed. This is a dishonest lie that what is happening today, has completely changed the paradigm of relations between Russia and the West and the perception of Russians abroad.

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