The British Home Office revealed on Wednesday that it had approved 46 investor visa applications (Level 1) for people aged 21 or younger over the past seven years. Now anti-corruption activists and MPs are warning that children of oligarchs can use their parents’ money to buy these “golden visas” so that they can live in Britain. This reports The Guardian.
The suspicion: Oligarchs ‘children have bought “golden passports” with their parents’ money
The “golden visa” system was scrapped in February when there was concern that it had been used by Russian oligarchs. The system was designed to attract rich people to the UK and required applicants to invest at least two million pounds, equivalent to approximately 24 million Swedish kronor.
“A loophole for the children of the Kleptocrats”
John Penrosea Conservative MP, acting as the prime minister’s “anti-corruption advocate”, says the revelation raised concerns that the golden visa could have been “a loophole for kleptocrats’ children to live luxury lives in London funded by dirty money”, according to The Guardian.
It has previously been revealed that eight Russian oligarchs on the British sanctions list have also been granted golden visas to live in Britain. Including Roman Abramovitj and Oleg Deripaska has been sanctioned by the United Kingdom.
“The children of the oligarchs may have used their parents’ money”
Dr Susan HawleyCEO of Spotlight on Corruption, says the latest revelation about potential abuse of the system is “deeply worrying”.
She explains that there was a loophole in the sewing machine which meant that there were few or no checks on the source of the wealth if the money was given to the person applying for the visa.
“This means that the children of the oligarchs may have used their parents’ money, possibly obtained through corruption, to secure residence permits in the UK, which again exemplifies how the system facilitated the flow of dirty money to the UK,” Hawley said. The Guardian.