Controversial “Golden Passport” (or visa) schemes are back under the highlight as one leading London firm opens up at the “big growth” in demand for its services.
Luke Hexter, managing director of Knightsbridge Capital Partners, advised Forbes that their European Passport program was using 70% yr-on-yr increase at the company. This comes after Knightsbridge turned into embroiled in a Sunday Times and Channel Four research that located firms brokering U.K. Funding visas and European passports for foreign billionaires and millionaires had boasted of being capable of steer clear of authorities exams and safeguards for their customers.
Knightsbridge currently sells passports from Cyprus, which could provide a overseas traders and their families the right to tour visa-loose to 163 international locations, in go back for a $2.2 million (€2 million) investment into local assets or price range. The island has raked in $7.Four billion (€6.6 billion) from selling passports, but the scheme has also attracted the ire of the European Commision and OECD.
Economic boom and political instability in emerging markets created the demand for therefore-referred to as Golden Passport funding applications, according to Hexter. “If you bought a few billion–a variety of these clients could have citizenship in a single u . S . A ., passports in some other and residency someplace else as a way to mitigate threat,” says Hexter
“Nigeria is a prime instance of a country in which a number of humans are getting very wealthy quite quickly. But with the political instability, they still love their usa … they simply nonetheless want to have a contingency plan in location,” he added. Nigeria is presently ranked by way of campaign group Transparency International as one of the international’s most corrupt international locations with tens of billions from its oil fields looted via its political and army elite.
Hexter struck a protective tone on whether or not the Golden Passport enterprise and his company helped criminals to flee justice and disguise their sick-gotten profits. The enterprise can “get a touch little bit of flack for pandering to positive unscrupulous high-net-well worth people,” the accusation is, “as a long way away from the fact as can be feasible.”
Knightsbridge Capital, he says, “would not contact” what he describes as, “a politically uncovered individual or someone wherein there’s even a query that their wealth could have been obtained illegally.” He provides his firm’s patron tests (KYC) are “stringent” and the EU’s due diligence are “very very strict.”
However, for those preventing global corruption, these citizen by means of investment schemes are not as benign because the London corporations involved would have you ever agree with.
Ben Cowdock, senior studies officer at Transparency International, challenges whether British and European money laundering and history exams are powerful in identifying corrupt business leaders and politicians.