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EU Countries Auction Residence/Citizenship Rights $310k To $12m —Transparency Int’l

International watchdog, Transparency International [TI] has revealed that some 20 countries or territories worldwide are currently selling residence and citizenship rights under so-called “Golden Visa programmes”.

Transparency International made the revelation in a news bulletin made available to ElombahNews on Saturday.             `

The international watchdog also revealed that thirteen of such countries or territories are in Europe.

It further stated that price tags vary from country to country, costing anywhere from US$310,000 to US$12 million.

While TI is not against countries exchanging residence or citizenship rights for investment, it is worried that such schemes may risk helping the corrupt escape justice.

Recently, TI partners at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) published new investigations into European Golden Visas that confirmed their fears.

These investigations reveal that the Golden Visa market operates like a shop where an array of options varied by price are presented.

Access to the EU is one of their main selling points.

According to TI, “The shady thing about this European Golden Visa shop is that transactions are often conducted in secret and without proper due diligence.

“This means that Golden Visa programmes can be open to abuse by all sorts of illicit activity from money laundering to government kick-back schemes,” it added.

Transparency, therefore, highlighted some of the key findings from these revelations and asked the European Commission to take heed of this new evidence and finally adopt guidelines to regulate European Golden Visa programmes.

It also enjoined governments as well as European institutions of their responsibility to protect their people from the corrupt.

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