(HorizonPost.com) – An extensive examination into the nation of Dominica’s “golden passports” or citizen by investment scheme has revealed that the Caribbean island has been selling citizenship to thousands for nearly fifteen years, the UK Guardian reported.
An investigation led by 15 news organizations, including the Guardian, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project found that Dominica’s golden passports scheme benefited international criminals like a former Libyan colonel and a Turkish millionaire who was convicted of fraud.
Dominica’s citizenship by investment scheme is one of the largest in the world, and according to official documents, the island nation raised over $1 billion through the scheme since 2009.
The island state’s passports are in high demand throughout the globe as multiple international agreements ensure that Dominican citizens can travel without a visa to 140 countries, including nearly all European Union member states.
Until now, the names of those who paid at least $100,000 to gain Dominican citizenship without ever having stepped foot on the island had been difficult to obtain.
However, after working with the US-based Government Accountability Project that searched through archives and libraries throughout the Caribbean for official public documents, and reviewing leaked material, the investigating news organizations were able to put together lists of the thousands of people who purchased Dominican citizenship.
The investigation found that the largest groups of individuals who purchased citizenship had names indicating Chinese, Russian, and Iranian heritage. For citizens of these three countries, Dominican citizenship would cut through a lot of red tape when opening foreign bank accounts, doing business, or crossing borders.
Some of the other names uncovered also raised significant red flags.
According to the Guardian, one individual who purchased Dominican citizenship was previously accused of war crimes. Another individual had been jailed on fraud charges before buying his citizenship.
Others ran afoul of the law after purchasing their golden passport, including one individual whose name appears on Interpol’s Red List.
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