Montenegro published the list of persons who received „golden passports“ during the last year. It is mainly about people who received Montenegrin citizenship in 2022 in exchange for financial investments. There are 410 people on the list, a third of whom are Russians.Among the others on the list are Sergey Studennikov, the owner of the supermarket chain „Red and White“, whose wealth is estimated at 1.8 billion dollars, and members of his immediate family. There is also investor Yevgeny Zaltsman, former head of the UBS office in Moscow, reports the Russian edition of Forbes magazine.
The Montenegrin registry also includes the creator of the Ethereum blockchain network, Vitalik Buterin, a native of Kolomna near Moscow. Buterin grew up in Canada, and received Montenegrin citizenship in April last year. Podgorica announced that this will help the development of local cryptocurrency, emphasizing that Buterin did not receive a passport under the Citizenship for Investment program.
Of the 140 Russians on the list, only Buterin and Russian gymnast Elizaveta Lugovskik, according to data from the registry, did not receive passports based on investment. In addition to Russians, a large number of Chinese, Ukrainians and residents of African and Asian countries received Montenegrin citizenship. In addition to economic interest, sporting, cultural or scientific interest was cited as a reason for issuing citizenship.
Montenegro is one of the countries in Europe that allows obtaining citizenship in exchange for investments. The program was launched in November 2019, but due to the pandemic, passports were issued only after the quarantine was lifted in 2020. The first owner of the “golden passport” of Montenegro was a Russian.
To obtain Montenegrin citizenship, it is necessary to invest in real estate no less than 250,000 euros in the north and in the middle part of the country and no less than 450,000 euros on the coast. In addition, it is necessary to pay contributions in the amount of 200,000 euros to Montenegrin state funds.
Montenegrin authorities announced in May 2022 the extension of the “golden passport” program until the end of the year. This decision was made despite criticism from the European Union, which insisted on ending the program, as the Russians were most interested in its extension, local media reports.