Henley & Partners’ Moldovan passport scheme suspended

The Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment (MCBI) program, developed in partnership with its service provider Henley & Partners, has been temporarily suspended due to “questions about the companies that are involved in this program”. Henley & Partners also manages Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.

According to Investment Migration Insider (IMI), President Igor Dodon has expressed his concern on the program following a meeting with Moldova’s Supreme Security Council. IMI quotes Dodon as saying: “There are questions about the companies that are involved in this program. Until we clear these up, we’re suspending the program”.

Read: Henley & Partners will now sell Moldovan passports

Henley & Partners had won a public tender to design, implement and promote Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment (MCBI) Program in July of 2018. Gantenbein from Henley & Partners had said that Moldova offers its citizens visa-free access to 121 countries which include as well all the countries in the Schengen Area as well as Russia and Turkey.

Henley & Partners was contracted by the Government of Malta to sell Maltese citizenship back in 2014.

Read: ‘Investor citizenship creates risks for member states and the Union’ – EC

The European Commission had stated that  “investor citizenship and residence schemes create a range of risks for member states and for the union as a whole,” according to the Financial Times. It had said that the programmes of some EU states to sell passports and visas to wealthy foreigners could help organised crime groups infiltrate the bloc and raise the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.

Read: EU warns of crime risks from governments’ sales of passports, visas

Although legal, these schemes are sometimes run in opaque ways and without sufficient checks on those who acquire passports and visas, the Commission had said, mostly raising concerns about the programmes in Malta and Cyprus.

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