It will no Longer be Possible to Buy Bulgarian Passport with Investments
After a series of scandals involving granted Bulgarian citizenship to businessmen sought out by various anti-criminal agencies around the world, the justice ministry proposes changes to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act. It eliminates the possibility of taking a passport against investments.
Although such opportunities have been in place for years, real investment in Bulgaria has not been made, the Ministry of Justice said. Furthermore, bad practice has caused at least two serious scandals.
A few weeks ago, Radio Free Europe announced that Russian billionaire Sergei Adoniov received a Bulgarian passport in 2008, despite having been sentenced for money laundering in the United States in 1998. He has never made the promised investments. However, Adoniov, as well as his wife, received Bulgarian citizenship.
Similar is the case for money laundering Kazakhstan Kair Rahimov. He gets citizenship in 2011 with the motive for special merits to Bulgaria.
In both cases, the Bulgarian authorities, which should have carried out in-depth checks on candidates for citizenship, have neither noticed the verdict nor the search. The head of SANS Dimitar Georgiev explained that the office has carried out checks but has found nothing wrong.
"Practice shows that applicants for citizenship on these grounds have been granted a permanent residence permit due to investments made mainly in the purchase of government securities worth over BGN 1 million or have invested more than BGN 1 million in a licensed credit institution under a contract for respectively, increased the investment under the same conditions to BGN 2 million. At the time of filing the application for Bulgarian citizenship or at one of the next stages of the production often turns out that the investment is not available due to the sale of the purchased securities, "the Justice Ministry's announcement said.
Handing out citizenship versus investment is not the only scandal in the matter in recent months. After the action of the special prosecution, Petar Haralampiev, head of the Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, his former General Secretary Krassimir Tomov and two other people were arrested. They were accused of taking bribes to issue certificates of Bulgarian descent, a document that is part of the citizenship procedure. After their arrest, it was announced that the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor's Office checked how 40,000 passports were issued. At the same time, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev said there was no evidence of a political umbrella over the agency's schemes.
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