Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Second passports for the rich are the must-have buy

Issue No. 2621

The rich are hoovering up passports

The rich are hoovering up passports (Pic: Susi.bsu/Flickr)

Dominica is good, Portugal is better, but Malta is best.

The accessory that the world’s super-rich are after is not a private jet but a second passport.

An estimated 20,000 people a year are applying for second passports.

The industry has grown hugely and is said to be increasing by 50 percent a year.

“The number of ­programmes on offer has grown exponentially,” said Paul Williams, chief executive of La Vida, an agency based in London that ­specialises in citizenship.

“We are dealing with 15 programmes now. Seven years ago there were only two.”

Christian Kälin of Henley & Partners, said “If you have a yacht and two airplanes, the next thing to get is a Maltese passport. It’s the latest status symbol.”

Applying for residency in return for investment was pioneered by Canada in the 1980s. But it is only recently that countries have offered passports in return for large sums of money.

Malta has accepted more than 1,000 new citizens since its scheme launched in 2014.

Applicants have to buy or lease property, invest money and contribute to a ­development fund.

The Caribbean ­programmes tend to be cheaper and offer visa-free travel to a wide range of countries.

However Britain is in on the passports for rich people game. For a couple of million of quid you can get a British passport. No hostile ­environment for the rich.

For sale

  • Malta citizenship. Buy property worth €350,000, or rent of €16,000 a year. Invest €150,000 in government-approved financial instruments. Donate €650,000 to National Development and Social Fund. Spouses and children are €25,000 extra
  • UK residence for £2 million. Applicants can stay for three years. Access to citizenship after five years, reduced to three years for £5 million, and two years for £10 million

Tax cheats let off for reputational damage

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has admitted for the first time that it allows the most powerful members of society to escape prosecution for financial crimes.

At an economic crime conference in Cambridge last week, a senior government official admitted that the tax authorities settled debts privately to avoid the embarrassment.

Richard Las, the deputy director of HMRC in charge of organised crime, said that “very wealthy and prominent members of the community” were afraid of the “reputational damage” that a criminal trial for fraud, money-laundering or tax evasion would bring. So they are open to doing deals.

In 2016, the global elite was embarrassed by the leak of millions of documents from the tax haven of Panama. The leak led to four arrests and six interviews under caution by HMRC.

In contrast officials in Germany mounted 71 prosecutions.

Bright Tribe academy trust scams revealed

An academy trust has been accused of claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds for fire safety improvements and building work that it never completed.

Bright Tribe runs ten schools in England.

The BBC’s Panorama has uncovered details claiming that Bright Tribe Trust received public money for building work, lighting upgrades and fire safety improvements that were either not finished or never done.

Bright Tribe was given £566,000 to demolish and rebuild unstable walls in the sports centre at Colchester Academy. But instead of knocking down the walls, it carried out a cheap repair using metal braces.

The repair job cost about £60,000, but Bright Tribe received the full £566,000.

Bright Tribe also allegedly failed to firestop a ceiling void and install more than 100 new fire doors in another project.

It claimed the full £255,000 of funding, despite being warned that the work had not been completed.

Addicted to drug profits

A billionaire boss who has been blamed for creating a US opioid crisis stands to profit from the epidemic. He patented a new treatment for drug addicts.

Richard Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, the company behind the painkiller OxyContin, was granted a patent for a reformulation of a drug used to wean addicts off opioids.

It is a mild opiate that controls cravings, which is often given as a substitute to people hooked on heroin or opioid painkillers such as OxyContin. Purdue Pharma has been hit with more than a thousand lawsuits for allegedly fuelling the epidemic.

Tory wonders over loyalty

It’s never easy starting a new job. Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland who was appointed in May, said, “I freely admit that when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues that there are in Northern Ireland.

“I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought for example in Northern Ireland people who are nationalists don’t vote for Unionist parties and vice-versa.”

Meanwhile Defence secretary Gavin Williamson attended a Democratic Unionist Party gala dinner last week without informing the public or press.

Hillsborough cop pleads not guilty

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 Liverpool football fans.

The former chief superintendent appeared via video-link at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

The names of 95 people who died at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground in 1989 were read out in court as the charge was put to him.

Former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell pled not guilty to one charge of contravening a term or condition of the stadium’s safety certificate and one health and safety offence.

Gross wealth of the super-rich

A quarter of a million grossly wealthy people own more than the poorest 80 percent of the world—some 5.6 billion people.

The figures come from the Wealth-X World Ultra Wealth Report 2018. It says 255,810 individuals (about the population of Swansea) with a minimum £24 million in wealth now collectively own £25 trillion.

This is an increase of 16.3 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Boris Johnson and cricket

What is it with Boris Johnson and cricket? Last time he launched a leadership bid, after the Brexit referendum, he headed to Princess Diana’s family estate, Althorp, to play a game. And yesterday he ducked off to The Oval to watch England vs India. He was booed by the crowd when he appeared on a screen.

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