Anti-corruption activists and British lawmakers fear that gold visas will allow children of Russian oligarchy to buy the right to live in the country with their parents’ money. The warnings come after the British Home Office revealed that 46 Russian citizens, aged 21 and under, had been granted residence permits under the scheme.
The minister’s office provided the information to Bloomberg on Wednesday.Following a request under the Freedom of Information Act (British law guarantees the public’s “right of access” to information held by public authorities).
Conservative MP John Benrose believed that gold visas could have “served as a ring of money for dirty money, for the children of the cryptocurrencies to live a precious life in London”. The Prime Minister’s appointment, he argued, was “if visas were issued to the best and brightest”. Young entrepreneurs, Britain will greatly benefit from the jobs, energy and wealth they create.
“The answer is that the government is releasing a long-standing promise of gold visas, so we’ll see what actually happened and when. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, as they say,” he argued.
British gold visas were introduced in 2008 and were aimed at attracting wealthy foreigners to the UK. To obtain a residence permit, applicants must invest a minimum of two million pounds (4 2.4 million at current exchange rates).
About 12,000 people have used the program to facilitate entry into the UK, and it is especially popular among Chinese and Russian citizens. Since 2008, 2,581 Russians have been issued gold visas, according to Reuters.
The plan was dropped last February for fear of being exploited by Russian oligarchs. According to the anti-corruption program Spotlight on Corruption, about half (6,312) were reviewed due to “potential risks to national security”.
“Because of the loophole in the Golden Visa regime, there is no way to verify whether the person applying for the visa was paid or the source of the wealth,” said Susan Howley, managing director of Spotlight on Corruption.
“This means that children of oligarchy may have obtained their parents’ money through corruption and used it to protect UK residence, which again illustrates how the dirty money was brought to the UK.” , The activist argued.
At the end of March, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry told parliament that the UK had already issued gold visas to eight Russian oligarchs on the list of individuals allowed to interact with Putin. Their names have not been released.
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