For some resource-poor countries in desperate need of cash, one increasingly popular commodity is citizenship, Bloomberg’s Jason Clenfield reports.
Advising governments on those deals is a Swiss lawyer who’s become a master at creating resources “out of thin air” — in the form of expensive passports, that is.
Christian Kalin is a citizenship dealmaker. He’s advised the governments of Cyprus, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis, among others — the latter has since become the most popular country in the world to buy a passport.
For just $US250,000, new citizens of St. Kitts will receive unlimited travel to 132 countries and a host of financial benefits like tax-free income and capital gains and minimal disclosure requirements, Bloomberg reported. Applicants don’t even need to visit the island.
St. Kitts became a huge success for Kalin, and now more and more countries are getting into the game.
“It makes a lot of sense,” he told Bloomberg. “Why not give citizenship to people who contribute a lot to the country?”
In return, his Zurich-based firm, Henley & Partners, has grown into an industry leader. He said they have advised “dozens” of governments (think Malta and Antigua) and raised some $US4 billion in citizenship and residency investment programs.