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EU Citizenship Up for Sale

BBC – It is a cliche used from Bond to Bourne: the classic spy image of a suitcase filled with cash and multiple passports for a quick getaway. But increasingly it is not spies that are looking for a second passport, but a growing number of “economic citizens”.

Henley and Partners citizenship expert Christian Kalin, who helps to advise clients on the best place to spend their money, estimates that every year, several thousand people spend a collective $2bn (£1.2bn; 1.5bn euros) to add a second, or even third, passport to their collection.

“Just like you diversify an investment portfolio, you want to diversify your passport portfolio,” he says. The option has proven popular with Chinese and Russian citizens, as well as those from the Middle East.

Cash-strapped countries have taken notice. In the past year alone, new programmes have been introduced in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain that either allow direct citizenship by investment or offer routes to citizenship for wealthy investors.

However, concerns have been raised about transparency and accountability.

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