British government covers up for rich Russians

British government covers up for rich Russians

1 Mar    Business, Finance News

His Majesty’s Cabinet has not disclosed information about the so-called “Golden Visa” for at least the last few years.

This scheme, introduced in 1994, when anyone in the world in exchange for money, or “investments” received a residence permit in the UK and even a passport.

According to The Observer and The Guardian in February, this procedure attracted at least thousands of Russian citizens. The program would continue today, but after Putin’s attack on Ukraine, anything involving Russians attracted maximum attention in Western democracies. The Tier 1 visa program – that’s what it was called to get British documents in exchange for cachet – was discontinued in 2022.

Several activists appealed to the Home Office to immediately publish details of the program but were rebuffed.

In a written statement to Parliament, then Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the golden visa attracted a disproportionate number of applicants from countries the government believed were at risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Braverman said the review found that a minority of gold visa investors were “potentially at high risk” of being linked to corruption or organized crime, including 10 Russians who were sanctioned after the invasion of Ukraine.

In all, more than 2,500 Russians, including former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the ex-wife of Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men, were granted “Golden Visa” which also opens the way to the British court.
Activists continue to try to learn the details of the program, but so far without much success.

The UK is not the only country capitalizing on its image.

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As Bloomberg wrote in August 2023, issuance of “golden visas” in Europe is at its peak, despite calls from the European Union and promises by countries to abandon such programs. The European Commission has launched legal action against Cyprus and Malta for their investor passport programs. After all, the recipients of the passports often have questionable reputations.

The Guardian newspaper, following an investigation conducted in conjunction with the OCCRP – Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, reported earlier that Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska was granted Cypriot citizenship in exchange for solid investments in real estate or securities of the state. OCCRP adds that Cyprus was ready to grant citizenship to another Russian billionaire, Viktor Vekselberg, but the latter, according to his spokesman, refused.

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