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Interview

MOLDOVAN CITIZENSHIP FOR FOREIGNERS IN EXCHANGE FOR INVESTMENTS

18 octomber, 2017
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Moldova has amended the law on citizenship, allowing its issuing to foreign citizens in exchange for their investments in Moldovan economy worth 100 thousand euros and more. Such attraction of investments caused an ambiguous reaction in society, where there are both supporters and opponents of the citizenship providing to foreigners for money. Infotag correspondent talked to Justice Minister Vladimir Cebotari, who told about the advisability of the law in the Moldovan state.

Interview’s Part 1 of 2. Moldova’s attractiveness and possibilities on two markets – the EU and the CIS.

Question: Mr. Cebotari, how do you think, who are those people, who would like to invest 100 thousand euros in Moldovan economy in exchange for receiving the Moldovan citizenship?

Answer:
Let us not forget that Moldova has a very interesting geographical position, being present on the CIS market – the one promising dynamic development in the mid-term and long-term period. Only from this considerations, this perspective would be interesting for business people both from the West and from the East.

Q: Why is Moldova attractive for people, who would get its citizenship?

A:
Moldova is attractive first of all by its specific geographic location, as it may propose access to two large markets – either the CIS market or the EU market, which is perhaps the largest market in terms of purchase, given its half-a-billion population.

Q: Which are the risks that should no way be ignored in this useful, at the first sight, decision on providing citizenship in exchange for investments in economy development?

A:
Currently, we do not see any risks we could not manage. Let us not forget that we are not the first and not the last among the countries which went to adoption of similar law. Most of countries, including EU members, are conducting such policy and attract people, who invest great funds in their countries. If everyone wants to attract citizens with good economic reputation in their economy, why would Moldova not attract such investments as well?

Q: Does the ministry have any forecasts about how many people and, what is more important, from which countries may address to Moldova with such a request?

A:
I believe that the number of these people will be quite large, as we have already discussed this issue at the local and international level and we can talk about the interest to our country. We do not focus on a certain region, but on countries of the West and the East as we have tougher requirements for citizens of other countries.

Q: Has Ministry of Justice studied the practice and experience of other countries, which is demonstrated by results of implementing the equivalent legislation?

A:
Many countries managed to attract billion investments, some countries, for example Bulgaria, managed to attract hundreds of millions of euros. We hope that we may have an equivalently “modest” result as the Bulgarians got several hundreds of millions of euros investments in economy may become a very good catalyst of development.

Interview’s Part 2 of 2. Origin of investments for citizenship should be transparent

Question: Do you see any competition in terms of the cost of citizenship between Moldova and, for example, Latvia, where foreigners for getting passport have to invest 70 thousand euros, which is considerably less than in Moldova?

Answer:
I have to admit that this is for sure an element of competition. This product is competing on free market, it has its profitable and less profitable sides. We have discussed in detail this issue in the business community and I can say that our product has much more advantages than in Baltic countries.

Q: Where and on what the state is going to spend such investments?

A:
First of all on what is the most important for our citizens, namely the creation of jobs, for example in the field of construction, as today it is providing the biggest share of working places and is a segment with the highest consumption, which is considerably stimulating the economy development.

It is also about the procurement of immoveable property and the implementation of projects on water supply in rural areas, the building of sanitation system, capital repairs of roads. We will propose nonrefundable fee, which should be directly used for laying water pipelines and sanitation system.

We also are considering the third component – the buying of state securities, which will be launched at more profitable conditions given the fact that Moldova will be credited by international financial institutions.

Q: Which may be the difference between the expectations from this decision and what will happen in reality?

A:
Of course there may be difference between the expectations and real results from applying the law in practice. But, studying the implementation of the law in other countries, we can see that the difference is not so big.

Q: Are the Moldovan competent authorities able to establish the origins of such type of investments in country economy?

A:
For this, the law clearly stipulates that the provenience of investments over the last 5 years should be demonstrated. This is done by means of providing documents over all these years, the received income, the paid taxes and the rest that is necessary in such cases.

The documents of such type are issued by countries, whose citizens are interested in getting Moldovan citizenship. We get confidence from the fact that if in time we find out that a person committed an offense, for example in what concerns the provenience of money, the law provides removal of citizenship because of providing false data.

Q: How can Moldovan economy change, for example in the nearest 5 years due to this law?

A:
We believe it should change to better, because additional funds that will be invested in concrete sectors of economy will bring benefits to the people and the country.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Mr. Cebotari!

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