Citizenship for sale: fugitives, politicians and disgraced businesspeople buying Vanuatu passports

Revealed: more than 2,000 people, including individuals sought by police, have purchased passports, and with them visa-free access to the EU and UK

  • Who’s buying Vanuatu’s passports? Crypto moguls, wanted men and even a prime minister
  • Ex-bikie and missing property magnate among Australian names granted Vanuatu citizenship

A controversial “golden passports” scheme run by the Pacific nation of Vanuatu saw more than 2,000 people, including a slew of disgraced businesspeople and individuals sought by police in countries all over the world, purchase citizenship in 2020 – and with it visa-free access to the EU and UK, the Guardian can reveal.

Among those granted citizenship were a Syrian businessman with US sanctions against his businesses, a suspected North Korean politician, an Italian businessman accused of extorting the Vatican, a former member of a notorious Australian motorcycle gang, and South African brothers accused of a $3.6bn cryptocurrency heist.

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