The European Union has expressed concern about this program on several occasions, without giving specific objections, except for the semi-official ones that it is not a good idea to buy a passport and the unofficial ones that there are too many Russians who are getting “Montenegro golden passports”.
Through the economic citizenship program, over 243 million euros have been paid into the escrow account, that is, the account for applications that are in the procedure, and almost 32 million euros have been paid into the Montenegrin budget through taxes, which the Agency for Investments is satisfied with.
Money from the escrow account is transferred to the classic accounts when the Ministry of Internal Affairs issues a decision on the applicant’s admission to citizenship.
According to the data of the Investment Agency, reported to “Dan”, 24,500,000 euros have been paid into the account for less developed municipalities so far, and 48,800 euros are in escrow accounts for that purpose, while potential donations for the development of innovation policy have exceeded ten million. euros.
The European Union has expressed concern about this program on several occasions, without giving specific objections, except for the semi-official ones that it is not a good idea to buy a passport and the unofficial ones that there are too many Russians who are getting “Montenegro golden passports”. The Investment Agency claims that there are numerous controls and that there is no money laundering involved.
As the director of the Agency , Mladen Grgić , points out, if the financial indicators are taken into account, we can be satisfied.
He also states that they are aware of the negative attitude of the EU, which is why the Government announced that it will not continue the program after December 31, 2022.
– The money that enters Montenegro in this way is completely clean because it passes numerous checks. Although we understand the concerns of the EU institutions, it should be noted that the Government did not receive any specific complaints regarding the winners of economic passports, which indicates that it is an extremely controlled process. After the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, additional measures were introduced, and considering the number of applications, we believe that the completion of the project will not jeopardize the investment cycle started in the north, while the collected funds will be sufficient for infrastructure improvement – Grgić says.
At this moment, almost 1,000 requests for economic citizenship have been received, which, if all are accepted, would mean that almost 4,000 foreign citizens will receive our passport. By the way, most requests were sent by Russian citizens, and then there are the Chinese, Ukrainians, Lebanese, citizens of the Republic of South Africa…
The application for obtaining economic citizenship is submitted through an intermediary agent, and the verification is carried out by an agent for the assessment of international suitability.
It is also established that the applicant and related persons do not have a criminal record in the country of origin or the country where the applicant acquired citizenship or residence, that he has not committed a criminal offense in Montenegro, has not been charged before the International Criminal Court, and is not on Interpol’s or Europol’s warrants, that the company in which the founder is not convicted of economic offenses or banned from operating in the last five years, that it does not pose a threat to independence and national security, that it is not accused of terrorism and terrorist financing, crimes against humanity, that it has proof of origin of money…
In recent months, it is noticeable that rich Russians have replaced the Montenegrin coast with the Turkish coast, that is, they have reoriented themselves to buying real estate in that country. Due to the sanctions, many countries have banned the arrival of Russian investors, but Turkey has resisted. In the period from December 7, 2020 to February 15, 2022, Montenegro collected more than 73 million euros through the economic citizenship program. Of that amount, more than 50 million were invested by Russian citizens. The government of Zdravko Krivokapić awarded a total of 317 honorary citizenships, of which as many as 293 are economic. To obtain Turkish citizenship, an investment in real estate of 250,000, fixed assets of 500,000 dollars in Turkish banks, or the purchase of bonds of the same amount is required, local media writes.