EPP MEPs say Golden Visas undermine fight against dirty money

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By Stelios Orphanides

Two members of the European Parliament (MEPs) of the European People’s Party (EPP) group, in which the ruling Disy is a member of, have criticised the Golden Visa, a practice applied by Cyprus and other European Union member states, for undermining the fight against corruption and money laundering.

The Golden Visa schemes, which allow investors to acquire citizenship or a residence permit in a member state, also allow “the rich to escape sanctions or launder money,” said Dariusz Rosati, a MEP from Poland and EPP group spokesman in the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance.

“We have been working in the (former) Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion Committee and the Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance Committee to bring this to an end,” Rosati said, according to a statement on the website of the EPP. “However, Golden Visas present another, discriminatory burden that we should minimise and tackle in our work. Over the years, Europeans have worked too hard and too long to establish the meaning of being European”.

The Polish MEP, who was commenting after a special debate on Wednesday at the European Parliament’s plenary in Strasbourg, added that the EU needs to establish common rules instead of putting a price tag on the European citizenship.

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola said that Golden Visa schemes constitutes a “commoditisation” of the EU citizenship.

“As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently noted, such schemes are hugely vulnerable to abuse and undermine the fight against corruption in our member states,” she said. “They have created a backdoor to the EU in the opaquest way possible and undermine all our efforts to tackle the influx of dirty money, corruption and money laundering.”

In March, the European Commission said that it would scrutinise the Golden Visa schemes of member states and issue a related report.

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • andyspencer

    Does this imply that if th EU Commission deam them ‘unlawful’ that the countries that have given Passports for investment will have to call them in and have tha Banks/Builders repay the investment?

    • Neroli

      Doubt they will call them in!

    • .ROC

      The EU is as dirty as some of the countries its seems to represent, giving passports is nothing new, nearly all member states do it for investment, Cyprus is doing nothing as to what the rest are not doing and that also goes for countries outside the EU,

      • Kevin Ingham

        No they don’t

        Abramovich invested billions in the UK and he doesn’t have a UK/EU passport, nor can he buy one there

        All countries entertain big money tickets, but only few will actually SELL them a passport for a set amount of money within a specific time frame (Cyprus Malta and Bulgaria)

        In the case of an EU passport purchased from any of the aforementioned 3 that gives the dodger unlimited access to (and freedom within) the EU.

        The whole scheme sinks to high heaven

        • Cydee

          And needs a stop now – this year. Why should people who we wouldn’t normally invite into the EU be able to ‘buy themselves in’.
          As you say, it stinks.

      • Veritas

        As usual, check your facts. Most of the EU members doesn’t give “Golden passports”.

  • Neroli

    Oops this doesn’t bode well for Niks law office!

    • Terryw45

      A brown envelope will fix it, don’t panic. X.

  • CyprusOilMan

    There’s no need to over-react. We should presume innocence before guilt. If a rich person’s affairs are all in order, then let them in. Some of their wealth will boost the economy. But if it is discovered that they lied, cheated or broke the law, then notify the relevant authorities, and cancel any rights to remain. Simple as that.

    • Terryw45

      ‘Simple as that.’ unfortunately it isn’t, but we can fix that ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’
      ps Cyprus ‘Oil man’ are we living in the future?

  • Barry White

    It’s not as if the Government receives much of the €2 million. As Prez Nik informed the sheep, the Government receives nothing from the passport sales. The proceeds stay with the facilitators – law offices, and the developers. The government gets the votes. To this day, no complaints from the sheep.

  • Cydee

    Have they only just realised what the ‘golden visa’ money represents???

  • Kyrenia

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. I find it hard to take this criticism when you consider how Europe threw us to the dogs in the bail-in debacle.

    • A is B

      What utter rubbish

      • Kyrenia

        Explain?

        • Terryw45

          A is B does not have a complete understanding of reality, but slowly we are comprehending that ‘Mental Health’ is an issue that concerns us all. (Especially here)

        • A is B

          First no disrespect meant to you, what did the EU do to Cyprus apart from bail them out. I realise the EU is fast becoming a joke but it was the Cypriot leaders, unions, lawyers and government employees that got this country in the mess its in today.

          • Kyrenia

            I feel Cyprus was at best used as a guinea pig, at worst singled out for punishment because of Russian connections. Ordinary people lost life savings. Look at Italy and Spain today, why the double standards?

          • A is B

            The money that was stolen was done by the Cypriot government, they could have done it other ways, more fair, but the Russian ambassador to Cyprus at the time said that Russia would bankrupt Cyprus if it touched any of their banks, thats a fact and easily checked. Russia is not a friend of Cyprus, never has been and never will be. No double standards, the EU bailed you out of this mess or Cyprus would now be bankrupt.

  • MEP’s don’t pay tax, they are in no position to judge anyone elses finances.