A ‘golden visa’ can cost between one and two million dollars.
This is not the first time that Malta has landed in hot water with the European Union for its ‘cash for passport’ scheme. The clashes actually started years ago and the E.U. is conducting infringement proceedings against the country’s ‘golden backdoor’ that permits super-rich individuals to get visas securing unrestricted access to the European Union.
A journalistic investigation of leaked documents shows what The Guardian calls “the highly artificial nature of the golden passports scheme” that, thanks to loopholes, permits many applicants paying enormous fees to claim “nationality based on a genuine link to Malta that may be largely spurious or superficial.”
The new report confirms the European Commission’s suspicions and fears: not only that many of the golden visa holders don’t have real links with the country, which is one of the conditions in such arrangements, but that the scheme can be exploited for money laundering, corruption and tax evasion by high-risk people wanting entry to the European Union.
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“European values are not for sale,” Ursula von der Leyen, the commission’s president, said while the Maltese government denies any shady dealings and argues that the country has the final decision over who can get a passport — and that applicants are strictly checked…