Left Bloc bill to end ‘corrupt and devisive’ Golden Visa scheme
The Left Bloc has called for an end to Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme, claiming that only nine of the 5,700 applications received so far, were submitted under the job creation category.
Adding that Golden Visas promote money laundering, cause real estate speculation and are an unjustified privilege, the party has submitted a bill to parliament that adds ‘corruption, influence peddling, embezzlement, tax and criminal offences’ as further reasons to ditch the scheme.
Left Bloc MP, José Manuel Pureza, said that “Golden Visas present a set of deeply negative traits that, all in all, leads us to say that it must be eliminated.”
According to data put forward by the MP, who also is parliament’s vice president, only nine applications for visas were for job creation out of more than 5700.
“The overwhelming majority are for real estate investment,” said Pureza, adding that the figures for March this year show that “in 5,717 applications, 5,553 were for real estate investment.”
For the Bloquista, there is no doubt, “It is real estate investment with the well-known characteristic of speculation, very few are for the renovation or rehabilitation of property. We are talking about investment made by the elites, the oligarchies of countries such as China, from which come the vast majority of requests, Russia and Angola …”
The Left Bloc parliamentary group says it expects more from the current socialist government, which only survives with Left Bloc support.
“In fact, the attitude of the Government clearly has been to maintain the regime that was created (by Paulo Portas) in 2012. There so far has been no intention by the Government to change the rules or to improve oversight and transparency.”
The Left Bloc is swift to point out a recent debate in the European Parliament where the finger was pointed at Portugal as one of the countries that offers and promotes this scheme, “that imports corruption and organised crime into the European Union,” – an accusation levelled by Portuguese MEP, Ana Gomes.
Last March, a Global Anti-Corruption Consortium said in Brussels that these Golden Visas contribute to increased corruption and crime, also within the state machine itself.
“It is therefore the conviction of the Left Bloc that, if we want to combat corruption and economic crime, the approval of this bill puts us closer to this objective.”
The above content produced by swissinfo.ch is not intended for commercial use and may not be republished by third parties either wholly or in part.