THE OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has published a ‘black list’ of 21 countries, which includes Cyprus, whose residency and/or citizenship by investment schemes potentially pose a high-risk to international efforts to combat tax evasion.
The OECD analysed over 100 Residence/Citizenship by investment schemes and identified a number of them that potentially pose a high-risk; i.e. those that give access to a low personal tax rate on income from foreign financial assets and do not require an individual to spend a significant amount of time in the jurisdiction offering the scheme.
Their analysis identified a number of schemes that potentially pose a high-risk. These are currently operated by Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Colombia, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Montserrat, Panama, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu.
Transparency International & Global Witness
Just last week Transparency International and Global Witness published an article Risky business: Europe’s golden visa programmes explaining how the EU had welcomed over 6,000 new citizens and nearly 100,000 new residents over the past decade and that Spain, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal and the UK have granted the highest number of golden visas to investors and their families, ahead of Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
In its accompanying report ‘European Gateway – Inside the Murky World of Golden Visas‘, Transparency International and Global Witness said it was “critical to harmonise the sale of residency and citizenship across the EU, and that high standards of transparency and due diligence are implemented across the board. Only a unified and coordinated approach will prevent risky individuals from ‘passport-shopping’ between jurisdictions and avert a race to the bottom in terms of standards.”
The report also called on the European Union to “Undertake infringement procedures against Member States offering golden visa schemes if they are deemed to undermine the principle of sincere cooperation and jeopardise EU values and objectives.”