Many countries in the world recognize dual citizenship, including the UK, USA and Canada. However, a Canadian may have broken the record for the most citizenships held by one person in history; the man in question has acquired eight nationalities and holds eight different passports, from both sides of the Atlantic, from Belize to Britain!
Last week, Canadian lawyer David Lesperance revealed to the world the story of one of his wealthy clients – one who just happened to have acquired eight different – and legal – citizenships and passports during his lifetime thus far.
Renounced US Citizenship
The story, which was picked up by multiple news outlets around the world, reported that the individual (who as of yet remains anonymous) was born in the United States, but in order to avoid paying tax, gave up his American nationality. In the late 1980s he obtained the citizenship and passport of Cape Verde, an island nation west of Africa, famous at the time for its volcano, charming beaches, and being one of the first countries to offer an economic migration program.
Finding his Cape Verde passport somewhat limited in terms of visa free travel, the mystery man then used his $1.7 million in assets (Lesperance did not specify how his client had earned so much money) to enter a five-year Irish investor program that resulted in him gaining Irish citizenship and a passport with visa-free access to most of the free world.
From Ireland To Canada
However, after five years he was becoming homesick, and Ireland was just too far from the US, so he set his sights on Canada. He earned permanent resident status through the Canadian Investment Immigration Program, and then spent three years waiting to be a Canadian citizen.
During his spells waiting for his Irish and Canadian citizenship, Mr. X also applied for and obtained passports for the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Belize and St. Kitts.
After obtaining Canadian citizenship, he then opened two companies in Canada, employing about 60 people. He then moved to the tax haven of Bermuda. As the island belongs to the British Overseas Territories, after several years he applied for and became a British citizen – his eighth current nationality (had he not renounced his US citizenship, it would have been nine.)
“This wealthy businessman now has citizenship in eight countries, including two European countries and Canada” said Lesperance.
However, the story – and the tally of passports – might not yet be over. Lesperance claims his client is currently living in Cyprus, one of three EU countries with citizenship by investment programs (the others being Austria and Malta.) When asked if his client would be willing to invest €2 million to secure Cyprus citizenship, Lesperance thought it was unlikely as he already holds an EU passport (his Irish one), but also said:
“For the business elite, obtaining different nationalities is sometimes more for novelty than for practical value.”
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