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How super-rich buy their way out of the coronavirus crisis

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Issue 2718
Fat cats are doing well during coronavirus
Fat cats —going to a luxury island away from you (Pic: Tim Sanders)

The super-rich are ­buying citizenship in countries with lower coronavirus rates in order to protect their health.

CNN News reported, “These so-called citizen-by-investment programs, or CIPs, are currently a growth industry, as are residence-by-investment arrangements, also known as ‘golden visas’.”

CIP participants tend to have a net worth of anywhere from $2 million to over $50 million.

Dominic Volek, head of Asia for global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, said, “New Zealand has come out on top in terms of how it handled the pandemic, compared with some of the other usually more favoured destinations like Britain or the US.

“So we’ve definitely seen a big increase in inquiries in the Australia and New Zealand investment visas.”

Australia’s programme costs between £750,000 to £2.6 million, while New Zealand will set investors back £1.5 to £5 million.


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“New Zealand’s programme is pretty flexible in terms of what you invest in,” explained Volek. “A lot of these people have put that money into creating a completely self-sustainable, off‑grid commercial farm. So then they’ve also got a place to go and just wait things out in times like these.”

As for those who want to stay, a report in Vanity Fair showed how the rich protect themselves. “One investor worth several billion who has several homes told a friend that he was in Miami when the numbers were lowest at the start of the pandemic, hopped over to Los Angeles when Florida got a bit dicey—and now that California is a hotbed, is in New York enjoying the season’s outdoor dining. 

“Another billionaire in Los Angeles has been hosting dinner parties where a nurse administers 15-minute coronavirus tests outside as guests drink cocktails, and allows them in to dine once their test comes back negative. 

“Another investor told me some of his colleagues chipped in for a massive $50,000-a-month compound in Palm Springs that’s being used as a group party house.”

Charity begins at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur football club was proud to announce during lockdown that it would allow its air‑conditioned basement car park to be used as a food hub to store supplies for vulnerable people.

Now a Freedom of Information request flagged up to Private Eye magazine that Haringey council had paid for it. “These costs were £1,680 per week for additional security and £880 per week for additional cleaning,” it said.

Spurs said it had been approached by the council, which wanted to absorb any excess cost to the club.

As one supporters’ blog puts it, “This food bank business has turned out to be one very strange act of kindness, as Tottenham’s charity looks like it came with a zero net spend.”

Thank you, you’re fired

In May HSBC bank launched a series of ads featuring workers telling customers, “We’re here to support you.”

The bank added its own message saying, “We want to say a big thank you to all our HSBC UK colleagues who continue to go above and beyond to support our customers.” 

Come August and HSBC boss Noel Quinn said the company will “accelerate” an earlier restructuring plan which included axing 35,000 jobs.

Trump shower moan over hair

The US government could change the definition of a showerhead because of Donald Trump’s hair.

US showerheads can’t produce more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute by law.

Now the Department of Energy proposed changing the law.

Trump whined last month that it isn’t enough.

“So showerheads—you take a shower, the water doesn’t come out,” he said. 

“You want to wash your hands, the water doesn’t come out.

“So what do you do? You just stand there longer? Because my hair—I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect. Perfect.”

Who gains from the sudden declarations that other countries are unsafe and people returning from them will have to self-isolate? As the government said 4am on Saturday was the deadline to get back from France, prices soared. British Airways was charging £452 for a direct flight from Paris to London Heathrow on Friday night. The same journey on Saturday was £66.

Labour branches told not to discuss antisemitism

Local Labour Party organisations have been cleared by the leadership to meet online.

So new general secretary David Evans has written to them telling them what they are not allowed to discuss.

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He said, “I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on a few pertinent issues.

“This will ensure that the business your local party is conducting is appropriate.”

The email went on to bar constituencies from debating or voting on motions about either Keir Starmer’s decision to pay around £600,000 in legal fees and to former staff who accused the party of antisemitism, or the party’s adoption of the IHRA definition and examples of antisemitism.

Evans added, “The IHRA definition of antisemitism and its examples was properly adopted by the Labour Party in September 2018.

“CLPs and branches have no powers to overturn this decision.”

 “Did Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist henchman Seumas Milne infect Boris Johnson AND Dominic Cummings with coronavirus during Downing Street visit?” So the Mail on Sunday is still finding things to blame on Corbyn. 

“The Mail on Sunday has established that on the evening of March 16 Mr Corbyn visited Mr Johnson at No 10 with his most senior adviser, former Guardian journalist Seumas Milne.” Damning.

Tories cut free school meals to migrants

The Tories are preparing to withdraw free school meals from the children of migrants in England who are currently ineligible for public support, charities say.

During the coronavirus outbreak the meal scheme has temporarily included some pupils whose families have “no recourse to public funds” (NRPF).

The government said this would continue only while Covid-19 “impacts schools”. 

In a letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson, last week 60 charities, unions and other groups said they were “extremely concerned by the government’s intention”.

Analysis by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory suggests that more than 175,000 children in Britain live in NRPF families.

Sam Royston, director of policy and research for the Children’s Society, said that those figures showed the number of children affected was rising. 

“Whether a child is able to eat should not depend on their parents’ immigration status,” he said.

The things they say …

‘New immigration laws will send the left into meltdown’

Home secretary Priti Patel according to a leak from a Zoom meeting with Tory MPs

‘The stock market is up almost 300 points again today’

US president Donald Trump on the day that 1,503 people died from coronavirus in the US, the highest number of deaths  for three months

‘Anything is possible when you’re making it up as you go along’

A senior Tory minister tells the Financial Times newspaper about the government’s exam strategy

‘There is not a lawyer or police officer in the land who any longer knows what is legal and not legal under coronavirus regulations’

David Allen Green, a widely-respected legal commentator

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