October 11, 2023

A Great Number of Bad Actors Found to Evade Persecution Through Purchasing Citizenship

WASHINGTON – In a cross-border project, Government Accountability Project, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and more than a dozen media partners have investigated fugitives, alleged criminals, and politically connected people who purchased citizenship and passports in the Caribbean island, Dominica.

As part of this investigation, our Investigator, Zack Kopplin, has exposed wrongdoing committed by over 100 high-profile actors linked to passports obtained through citizenship by investment (CBI) programs in the Caribbean island, Dominica. Some of these profiles include Iranian Revolutionary Guard-linked money launderers using CBI passports to move money, dozens of criminal fugitives, Russian oligarchs, blood gold smugglers, Saddam Hussein’s former nuclear weapons chief, and high-ranking politicians from across the Middle East.

The CBI program has allowed the government of Dominican to sell citizenship to foreigners since 1993 through a purchase of real estate costing at least $200,000 in a government development or a hefty contribution to a government fund of $100,000. Dominica’s passport allows people who are wanted by national law enforcement to travel freely, assisting sanction evaders, money launderers, and people investigated for extensive financial wrongdoing. Not only does this project expose the flawed due diligence processes in the CBI business, but also governance issues in the countries that sell these passports.

Government Accountability Project and our partners will continue to monitor the situation with Dominica’s golden passports to ensure international fraud will not be perpetrated or facilitated through this scheme.

Government Accountability Project Investigator, Zack Kopplin, commented on this project saying,

“Golden passports are a poorly understood part of the offshore economy. This investigation is the first to reveal how systemically they can be abused – for sanctions evasion, financial misconduct and even escaping arrest.”

Contact: Andrew Harman, Government Accountability Project Communications Director
Email:[email protected]
Phone: 202.926.3304

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.