Thousands of refugees from Africa and the Middle East risk their lives to reach the shores of Europe and escape conflict and repression. But for the wealthy there are easier options available. With enough money, it's possible to purchase a EU passport - or at least residence.
Since 2012, more EU countries – like Malta, Cyprus and Portugal - have begun to generate millions for the public coffers by selling national passports or residence permits through popular 'citizenship-by-investment' and ‘golden visa’ schemes. The customers are almost always kept secret by these governments. So who are these new European citizens? And what are the risks of these kinds of programs?
A cross-border team of journalists obtained secret lists of applicants' names from several countries and found that some countries, like Cyprus and Portugal, sold passports or residence to a wide array of controversial figures.
- Cyprus 'selling' EU citizenship to super rich of Russia and Ukraine - The Guardian, 17 September 2017
- Corrupt Brazilian tycoon among applicants for Portugal's golden visas - The Guardian, 18 September 2017
- Magnata brasileiro corrupto entre os estrangeiros que obtiveram vistos gold em Portugal - Expresso, 18 September 2017
- The billionaires investing in Cyprus in exchange for EU passports - The Guardian, 17 September 2017
- EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales - EUObserver, 18 September 2017