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Portugal in cash for passports scandal

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By Euronews
Portugal in cash for passports scandal

Portugal has been swept up in the “golden visa” crisis that has already engulfed Cyprus.

Both countries are accused of turning the other way when issuing passports to wealthy foreign investors with questionable backgrounds.

“Car wash”

In connection with the Guardian in the UK, Portuguese newspaper, Expresso, revealed that several executives caught up in the Brazilian “car wash” corruption scandal have bought access to Europe through property purchases in the country.

Otávio Azevedo, former president of the construction company Andrade Gutierrez, bought a 1.4 million euro property in Lisbon and before applying for a golden visa in 2014 . He received an 18-year sentence in Brazil last year after admitting to a string of corruption offences.

Relatives of former Angolan vice-president Manuel Vicente have also made applications for residency under the scheme. He has faced allegations of bribery at home.

How does it work?

Portugal’s programme requires investors to spend 500 thousand euros on property in exchange for permanent residency. After five years they can convert that to citizenship, giving them the right to live and work in Europe.

The scheme was subject to investigation in 2014, when 11 people were arrested for issuing golden visas in exchange for bribes.