Edition 1483
14 July 2018
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Portugal not ‘strict enough’ on gold visas – Transparency International

by TPN/Lusa, in News · 08-03-2018 14:22:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal is one of the European Union (EU) countries where the process of granting of ‘gold visas’ is not strict enough, Transparency International said this week, noting that there are insufficient steps to confirm the origin of the cash that applicants are investing.

Portugal not ‘strict enough’ on gold visas – Transparency International

Presenting a joint investigation with the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in Brussels, Transparency International’s strategic director Casey Kelso pointed to Portugal and Hungary as examples of EU countries that have not been “sufficiently rigorous” in complying with procedures established to grant so-called ‘gold visas’ or permenent resident status to people from countries outside the EU in return for investments.
He said that in Portugal, there are insufficient steps to verify the source of the wealth of the applicants, noting that as the process currently stands it is enough to submit a criminal record.
To back this up, Kelso pointed out that Portugal is a case study of how these programmes can possibly lead to corruption within a government as in the case of former Minister of Internal Affairs Miguel Macedo, who is being tried for corruption in granting of ‘gold visas’ to foreign nationals.
According to Kelso, the trial underway in Portugal is an example of the dangers of ‘gold visas’.
There are 11 people in public office who are being tried, said Rachel Owens of the non-governmental organisation Global Witness.
Owens praised Portuguese socialist party MEP Ana Gomes, who she said was a champion in the fight against gold visas, and recalled that once someone obtains Portuguese citizenship they can move freely within the EU.
In the Portuguese case, the investigation highlights the acquisition of ‘gold visas’ by members of the Angolan “ruling class,” by purchasing properties in Portugal.
According to figures published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, between 8 October, 2012, when the programme was launched, and 31 January, 2018, ‘gold visas’ represented an investment of €3.5 billion, of which €3.1 billion was invested in real estate.
Transparency International director Carl Dolan has a “growing concern” over what schemes of this kind mean for the integrity of the Schengen area.
“These people are buying access to EU citizenship and the EU,” he added.
The results of the research, which took place over the last six months, covering the programmes of eight Member States - Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Portugal - and Armenia and Montenegro will be presented to community organisations on Monday afternoon.

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Edition 1483
14 July 2018
Edition: 1483

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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