On Tuesday, 26th March, member states of the European Union were urged by the European Parliament to nip money laundering in the bud by putting an end to a visa program that sees billionaire investors granted visa on the basis of the investment.
This is not the first time the Parliament will call for the end of Golden visa, but there has been a counter-argument that such move will have the enormous economic significance given that the program contribute huge investment to the bloc.
In a related report, seven member states of the EU – Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Ireland – have been accused of being tax havens.
The committee on financial crime and tax evasion set up by the Parliament submitted the report after a year-long work. Though the report is not binding yet, its political weight was boosted following its adoption by the whole assembly.
The lawmakers urged all 20 EU countries that have schemes that put citizenship and residency permits on sale to wealthy foreigners to phase it out as soon as possible.
The Parliament acknowledged the benefits listed by contrary arguments but pointed out that the listed merits do not in any way overwrite the severe risks, involving tax evasions, security and money laundering, the schemes present. A European Commission report in January emphasized the same point.
Of particular concern are the schemes run by Malta and Cyprus, according to the Parliament.
Head of the conservative group in the parliament’s economic committee, Markus Ferber, said a very key way to fighting money laundering in the EU is by stopping the Golden visa. He called the schemes a gateway to organized crimes and money laundering.
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