The Office of Economic Cooperation and Development, a French think tank, released a blacklist Tuesday that includes nearly two dozen countries because of “golden passport” schemes used to evade taxes.
The Paris-based group named 21 nations in the list — including the Bahamas, Malta and Turks and Caicos Islands. Experts said they are home to schemes that have high-risk potential of being used by money movers to hide assets offshore.
The OECD is one of the leading economic think tanks in the West.
Analysts identified the schemes as “those that give access to a low personal income tax rate on offshore financial assets and do not require an individual to spend a significant amount of time in the location offering the scheme.”
The wealthy can make donations, invest in government bonds or property in those countries to become citizens-by-investment — meaning they can get a “golden passport” in those countries, in which they can receive citizenship after five years without living there.
In Malta, the European Union’s least populous nation, citizenship was sold to more than 700 people since 2014, The Guardian reported. Overall, the European Union has gained 100,000 new residents and 6,000 new citizens, a new report by Transparency International and Global Witness said.