Of the ten wealthy individuals claiming they will invest millions in Iceland if they are granted citizenship, at least one has run into legal trouble over suspicious business dealings.
As the Grapevine reported, ten individuals being represented by a lawyer, whose speciality seems to be tax shelters, have all applied for citizenship with parliament. They do so with the offer that if so granted, they will invest millions in Iceland’s geothermal energy sector. Reaction from within parliament has ranged from cautious to suspicious, with Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson saying that “citizenship is not for sale”.
Some digging (i.e. Googling) was done on some of the people applying for citizenship, and some interesting revelations were brought to light.
Nearly all the applicants have experience in the energy field around the world, primarily in Russia, eastern Europe and Asia. However, one of the applicants, Aaron Robert Thane Ritchie, was forced to pay a $40 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2008 for his company’s involvement in an illegal late trading scheme.
In related news, chairman of the parliamentary general committee (which handles applications for citizenship) Róbert Marshall emphasised that he does not want to sell citizenships; only that the promise of Icelandic citizenship has been used in the past to attract athletes and artists, therefore using citizenship to attract investors who could create jobs was not entirely out of the question, and needs further examination.