Golden Visas: they invest in Portugal, and end up being deceived

Portuguese Golden Visas are only a good idea on paper, in reality, many, if not most people involved in this scheme (scam), to a greater or lesser degree, have seen their lives wiped out, or at least their return and experience fell far short of what was promised by the countless, let’s call them “actors” of this tragic comedy that in the whole world could only happen in Portugal.

Corruption and theft around the Golden Visas reach the highest political and institutional levels. The promiscuity is unbelievable!

My most sincere advice, and from my devastating business personal experience in Portugal is, to NEVER bring your hard-earned money to Portugal, let alone amounts of this magnitude, because the inherent dishonesty and unbridled madness of the Portuguese society as a whole, will “take and keep” your investment one way or another in exchange for a life of never ending living nightmares and where no one will really help you out in case you need, quite the opposite. The plain truth is, most Portuguese are really ONLY interested in your money, and not a bit in your problems, whatever they may be, besides, NOTHING works in Portugal.

Don’t even think that there is justice in Portugal, it’s a complete fallacy, a total FRAUD. Portuguese justice is utterly corrupt and abysmally incompetent, however conversely, Portuguese justice is very expeditious and “efficient” in protecting corrupts and crooks from their victims, just like a dictatorship. This means that if something goes wrong, no one will come to your rescue. In Portugal, you have to HOLD ON to your money very, very tightly, because once it’s gone/stolen, it will NEVER come back. Believe me!

The Portuguese justice system is also expert at pretending to act when the scandals are too obvious, especially in order to please the EU (the money pot), but then nothing really serious happens and, very suspiciously, the Portuguese media also often suddenly fails to report new developments.

A Portuguese lawyer, who had been sentenced to six years in prison in England for fraud, ran away from her British sentence to Portugal shortly before the sentence was pronounced, and then, already “safe” in Portugal, apart from not even being prosecuted and imprisoned, on the contrary, she was been authorized to continue scamming and stealing millions of euros from unsuspecting foreigners through the Golden Visa scheme/scam during many, many more years on the Portuguese territory.

It should be noted that this Portuguese Golden Visa scheme only exists and is a shameless exploitation of the fact that Portugal, very immorally, in my view, is a member of the EU and can itself sell and profiteer from the much coveted common European citizenship. Quite simply, a blatantly fraudulent democracy like Portugal should never be allowed to do this. They are only tarnishing the name and credibility of the European Union itself!

Currently, you can also get the Golden Visa by starting a company from scratch or investing at least half a million euros in a established company. MADNESS! Don’t EVER fall for that either, Portugal is TRULY a lawless country, completely corrupt, full of pitfalls and with huge shortcomings in everything. It’s very likely that you’ll lose all your money, one way or another, as well many precious years of your life fruitlessly trying to work with inept Portuguese people in that hopeless society.

As usual, it is very difficult to find comprehensive information from the Portuguese media, so what lies here is, very unfortunately, just a drop in the ocean of the true humanitarian crimes that this horrible country inflicts also on people who were unfortunate enough to have landed in Portugal one day.
99.99% of the scams, errors and grave deficiencies committed over anonymous citizens through this Golden Visa scheme obviously do not appear in the media.

The Golden Visa applies only to non-EU citizens, but apart from the specifics, the enormous and real dangers of investing, ANY kind of investment in Portugal, are, naturally, exactly the same for any EU citizen.

The following article is a translation. You can find the link to the original website at the end of it.

She invested almost one million euros in two properties. She wanted to live with her family in Portugal and access a Golden Visa, but found herself involved in an endless process. One of the houses had a mortgage and lost the right to the residence permit. The case now goes to court. And it is not the only case in the country: there are many investors sunk in problems

Kuljeet Prithipal Chadda Singh, a native of Kenya, wanted to invest, live with her family in Portugal and apply for a Golden Visa. For this she bought two properties in 2018, one in the Algarve and the other in Lisbon. The latter had a mortgage which the seller concealed from her and which she assumed automatically when writing the deed. Due to this debt she lost the right to the Golden Visa and could even lose her house. She has three lawsuits running in court and one of them has a trial scheduled for this last week of April.

This is not, however, an isolated case and there are several foreign investors, who wish to apply for Golden Visas, who end up “misled”.

João Massano is a lawyer and President of the Lisbon Regional Council of the Portuguese Bar Association. Some of his clients are Golden Visa applicants and Kuljeet Prithipal Chadda Singh’s story is unfortunately not the only one, he assures. In some cases it is the State itself that fails to meet the expectations created, in others it is companies that abuse these people’s lack of knowledge of the market.

Although the situation is now calmer, there are still many problems to be resolved in the Residence Permit for Investment – ARI (Golden Visas). To CNN Portugal João Massano argues that in the case of Golden Visas, the State does not act in good faith:

“This is not good faith. It tells people, invest here, but then it does not give them the means for them to have access to what it promises them. It doesn’t respond to them, nor does it meet the expectations it created and gave people”.

“There were people who were almost scheduling professionals”

At the moment, the President of the Lisbon Regional Council of the Portuguese Bar Association has several clients in complicated situations. “They can’t even ask for an appointment because no one assists them at the SEF. Right now, I know of situations where people either need to renew their Golden Visas, or want to apply for a Golden Visa after having already made the investments and cannot, pure and simple, get appointments at the SEF”. There are those who have been waiting for an appointment for over a year.

And for those who are already in the country or come to Portugal many times, this becomes a problem due to the expired visa:

“They can leave, but to re-enter they have difficulties”. An amendment was promised, “with chronological appointments”, which seems to be the best formula, but this “is not yet being made”. “I saw people with sick family members who wanted to go to their country of origin to visit them but were afraid and didn’t go.”

Even so, he guarantees that it has been worse: “The system that existed provided less clear maneuvers. It was like that, some vacancies opened up, however, there was someone who was faster or had better knowledge and made a series of appointments that, often, there weren’t even people for that. I knew that there were people who made appointments to secure vacancies and then would sell them. People who were almost professionals in scheduling. They would have some contact at the SEF and then would sell vacancies to anyone who was interested in it. These were the stories they told me.”

“We all want to make money, but there is no need to deceive others”

Cases similar to that of Kuljeet Prithipal Chadda Singh are no strangers to this lawyer: “We’ve all heard of agencies looking for houses and then showing them houses and charging for it. Even agencies outside the country, which had partnerships with Portuguese agencies or there were secondary establishments here”.

Many investors have also acquired houses without seeing them, or just by visiting them on the internet, and this has led to many mistakes. And the amounts charged to those who wanted to obtain a Golden Visa were many times higher.

“I had several customers who discovered, after buying, that their neighbors had paid much lower amounts. Some even wanted to go back, but once the contract was signed, there was nothing to do”, João Massano tells CNN Portugal.

“There were developments that were sold at truly aberrant values, which were not even worth two thirds of the amount paid. There were even situations in which, together with the price of the property, the processing of the Golden Visa with the SEF and everything else was included”, explains.

João Massano believes that with more inspection many problems can be avoided and bad professionals penalized. Despite acknowledging that most agents are honest, he warns: “Real estate agents have to realize that we all want to make money, obviously, but we can’t deceive people”.

Most applicants, from their experience, only want to invest in Portugal, but there are those who want to live in the country. The location, the weather, the people and even the education convinced many to stay: “Here there is access to a European education. I have clients who live here, with a separation from the couple, so that the kids can study in Portugal”.

“So much has happened that I can’t imagine living in Portugal”

Originally from Kenya, Kuljeet Chadda Singh works in investment banking. After the mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she looked for a place where they could stay and guarantee her the best possible medical treatment. Her brother had already invested in Portugal and it seemed like a safe place. She currently lives in Qatar, but has been to other countries. She has lived and studied in the UK for a long time, but that wasn’t an option as she doesn’t like the weather. Staying in Kenya wasn’t in her plans either. Kuljeet Chadda Singh told CNN Portugal her story.

She looked for a foreign company that could help her find what she wanted in Portugal. It was a company specializing in diversified professional services and investment management. This company’s partner in Portugal gave Kuljeet Chadda Singh a guided tour of two houses: “He showed me two houses, I liked them, and I decided to buy them”.

The first incidents began there and there were many. It was the year 2018. In a tone of relief, she says today: “So much has happened that I can’t imagine myself living in Portugal”. And she also has no hesitation in pointing the finger at the Government and justice.

For this service, looking for and visiting houses, she paid 2% of their value. But there were more costs. “The agent who showed me the houses also demanded money, ten thousand euros for the service. I called the other company and asked how it was possible that I had paid them and they were demanding more money. They replied that they had agreed with the agent the payment of two thousand euros and that’s what I gave. The situation was ridiculous”, she says.

In August 2018, she finally ended up buying a property in the Algarve for €280,000. As Golden Visas require a minimum investment of 500,000 euros free of encumbrances and charges, she also purchased an apartment in Lisbon. For this property, she paid €10,000 down payment, followed by another €120,000 in the Promissory Purchase and Sale Agreement. 520,000 euros remained unpaid, which would be delivered on the day of the deed. Altogether it was 650 thousand euros.

Absent from the country, Kuljeet Chadda Singh, was represented by a lawyer in the Lisbon property deed, which was signed on December 12, 2018. In the act, the lawyer handed the check to the seller of the apartment, owner of a real estate company. Everything took place in front of a notary, but without the presence of a representative of a banking institution. It was a Wednesday.

After the deed, and with the document already in his possession, the lawyer will have gone home. Shortly afterwards, on the same day, the notary would have called him to say that, despite the deed having been carried out free of encumbrances and charges,

the property had a mortgage and that the seller had not delivered the checks to the bank.

But only two days later, the lawyer, who belonged to a firm with several associates, warned the client: “He called me on a Friday night and asked me to try to prevent the payment of the check, because the property had a mortgage . As if I could do it on a Friday night. And he only called me two days later”, she recalls.

“They made a mistake and didn’t admit it”

Kuljeet Chadda Singh has no doubts that the seller had no intention of paying the mortgage and therefore concealed its existence, but she also points the finger at the lawyers: “He had no intention of paying the mortgage and then there was incompetence of the others involved“.

Ended up disagreeing with the office. “They made a mistake and didn’t own up,” she explains. She refused to make the last payment and found her house keys withheld. “He didn’t give me the keys to the apartment, because I didn’t want to pay”.

She felt like “a criminal” in her own house, breaking a window to get in and change the lock.

On the same day of its deed, a second sale was scheduled, belonging to the same person, for another property in the same building. The bank representative, with whom the seller would have the debts, was only present in this second deed.

At the end, and with no buyers present on the premises, the seller will have refused to deliver the checks, received in both deeds, to the bank representative and also left the notary. Faced with this attitude, the representative asked the notary to return the termination documents. That is, the documents that would give the mortgages as paid were not attached to the deeds.

Applying for the Golden Visa is now impossible

Kuljeet Prithipal Chadda Singh thought she was buying a property free of encumbrances and charges, but in practice, without delivering the termination documents canceling the mortgage,

not only did she pay 650,000 euros for the house, she also “assumed” a debt of 520,000 euros to a banking institution. In a short time the dream became a nightmare.

By staying with the debt, even without any responsibility, she is no longer qualified to apply for a Golden Visa

and this was also a wish of Kuljeet Chadda Singh. To apply for the Golden Visa, in addition to the investment of at least 500 thousand euros, there can be no debts.

She chose not to pay the mortgage, which was not hers, and she knows she risks losing her home.

Just like the other buyer of the second apartment in the same building. Since 2018, this Kenyan has been trying to resolve the situation, but has not yet succeeded. Justice that was too slow has blocked her way and, in fact, the only thing she wanted, after feeling “cheated”, was to sell the property and forget about it. But nobody wants to buy. It’s been more than three years and she’s tired:

“I’m exhausted with this problem. It’s not healthy and it’s getting to me. I feel frustrated with the speed of things in Portugal”.

And, for this reason, she spares no criticism: “The judicial system is also responsible for the time we have lost. It is very slow. Those who deceive others rely on this and hope that people give up or do not have the money to support it“.

But she goes further: “The Government is also guilty, because when they invite investors to go to Portugal, they have to guarantee that the judicial system supports them. It’s one thing when someone does us harm, it’s another when the system fails us in every way.”

Currently, there are three lawsuits running in court and the criminal case has its first hearing scheduled for this month of April 2022.

“It’s like being in an alternate universe, where everything is the opposite of what it should be”, she confesses. “I can’t forget this money. I work for money,” she adds.

She is professionally linked to banking and investments and says that the banking system in Portugal “makes her dizzy”. “In the UK they would have helped me resolve this matter, because they know it’s not my debt. The most ethical thing to do would be to collaborate with me to help resolve the situation.”

Golden Visas have already been worth more than six billion to Portugal

They are called Residence Permit for Investment – ARI, but are known as Golden Visas. The program was launched in November 2012 and aimed to attract foreign investment. According to data from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), at the end of 2021, in nine years more than six billion euros were raised by the country – 6,057,663,503.19 euros, for sure.

China, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Russia are the nationalities that lead the top 5 in terms of investment raised through the Golden Visa program. They alone have secured more than four billion euros in recent years.

Of the more than six billion, the majority corresponds to the purchase of real estate, with a small part destined for urban rehabilitation 350,507,722.90 euros. The investment resulting from the capital transfer was 586,089,554.59 euros.

Since it was created, this program has awarded 10,170 Golden Visas. Of these, 9,514 were allocated through the purchase of real estate.

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Golden Visas: Chinese denounce scams in Portugal

There are houses that are being bought for 500 thousand euros by Chinese, despite the market value being 232 thousand. Complaints from citizens with Golden Visas are starting to reach lawyers.

Chinese citizens in possession of Golden Visas – investing heavily in real estate businesses in Portugal – are detecting irregularities in the purchase and sale of real estate and, therefore, want to resort to justice, reports this Wednesday the Diário de Notícias.

In question, the prices charged by Portuguese contractors for the sale of houses, which have proved to be more than double the market value and more than triple the asset value assessed by Finance.

Faced with this scenario, there are several Chinese citizens who are already knocking on the door of law firms, in order to understand how they can stop some of these allegedly usurious businesses, reducing the sale price or even going to court.

Statistical data from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), also cited by Diário de Notícias, reveal that 894 residence permits for investment have already been issued since the program was implemented. In the first five months of 2014 alone, 400 authorizations have already been issued. Added to this number are 1,190 authorizations given to family members of these same investors.

DN consulted some of the scriptures celebrated this month. One of them, by way of example, was celebrated between the construction company of Empreendimentos Almoravia, in Albufeira, in the first week of this month, and two Chinese citizens. In question is a villa located in Urbanização Almoravia, in Olhos d’Água, with 120 square meters of floor space.

The villa – with three bedrooms – has a market value valued at 232,000 euros and the asset value assigned by Finance is 155,000 euros. However, the property was sold for 500 thousand euros. Interestingly, the minimum amount required as a requirement to invest in real estate, to obtain a Golden Visa. For two days, the DN tried to contact the manager of Almoravia, José Brazão, but without success.

The investment made by these foreigners, the vast majority Chinese (87%), focuses mainly on the purchase of residences worth half a million euros or more-95% of cases-, followed by the transfer of capital in a minimum amount of one million euros.

Contacted by DN, lawyer João Massano says he is aware of “that there are situations of abuse and that sometimes the amount charged to foreigners far exceeds the market value of the property”. But he emphasizes: “This system is an intelligent way of raising capital”, concluded the lawyer.

The Ministry of Economy did not clarify, until the closing time of the edition, whether these cases were being monitored by the authorities. DN also contacted the Construction and Real Estate Institute. Pedro Coimbra, director of the Department of Inspection, admits that “he is aware of some situations of abuse but it is outside his sphere, since Finance does not reveal the patrimonial value of the houses”.

( … )

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Golden Visas never worked well

The controversial Golden Visas ‘promised a lot and delivered little’, complains an investor, noting that it was better ‘to have gone to Malta or Montenegro’.

Costa considers ending the institute with thousands of visas to be renewed.

If the Government led by Pedro Passos Coelho dreamed of attracting investment by creating Golden Visas, this program, which António Costa is considering ending, leaves behind years of controversy – among suspicions that it was used for money laundering or allowing the entry of individuals of bad reputation in Europe, in addition to accusations that it contributed to real estate speculation – and dissatisfied businessmen. In order to enjoy the benefits promised by a Golden Visa, it was still necessary to face the bureaucratic machine of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF). Which is repeatedly the target of criticism for its gigantic queues, clogged telephone lines and delay in service.

The feeling was of being trapped in an endless exchange of paperwork, back and forth, describes an executive based in the United Arab Emirates, responsible for managing investment funds worth tens of millions of euros over the last few years. In conversation with Nascer do SOL, she requested anonymity as she is still waiting to find out if she will be able to renew her residence permit or not. However, she already assures that the experience has not left her with a strong desire to advise her clients to invest in Portugal.

This executive’s epic journey has been going on since 2017. In exchange for her investment, she enjoyed less than two years of carefree, in possession of a valid Portuguese residence visa, and the rest to be discussed with the SEF services. Now, your process is one of the 19,000 pending renewal requests for Residence Permits for Investment Activity (ARI), as the so-called Golden Visas are known. In practice, they are more than half of the total.

«If this – fulfilling all legal requirements, without taking shortcuts – is happening to me, personally, how can I ever agree to invest more money here on behalf of all the people I represent?», she points out, clearly resentful.

“At the moment I am an executive at a private equity management company in the Middle East, with a portfolio of US$2.5 billion. Do you think a single one of those dollars goes to Portugal? No way”, she guarantees. «It seems to me that the Government is not serious about attracting investors here, because they are not respecting them».

Labors of Sisyphus

It was already the end of the work for this millionaire to get her residence visa, taking almost two years, despite the Golden Visa scheme promising not to take more than three to six months. And, as such, she immediately began dealing with the renewal process – «I already know how it is with the SEF», she sighs – there were more than six months left for her card to expire. She spoke with her lawyers, visited SEF offices across the country, hired people to call all available numbers, she says. And even then she didn’t get an appointment.

There she found a note from the SEF – in Portuguese, without much warning, she saw it by chance – explaining that they were going to extend the validity of the visas until December 2022, due to the lack of response capacity. In practice, when this investor tried to enter other European countries, she found doors closed, without any border agent being informed of the length of validity of the visas. She still managed to return to Portugal, the same happening in national territory and even in a hospital.

«My residence visa has not been recognized anywhere in Europe, so I have to apply for visas again», complains the executive. “I am not considered a resident here for any purpose, I cannot access emergency healthcare, I cannot enter the country with this expired card. It is a useless document, which cost me 420 thousand euros».

“It’s ridiculous. Why the hell did I invest hundreds of thousands of euros in Portugal? I should have gone to Montenegro or Malta”, laments the executive. “The system doesn’t work. They promised a lot and delivered very little”, she concludes.

«I can more easily get governments in the Middle East or Africa to comply with their own laws than in Portugal».

The SEF, questioned by Nascer do SOL, guarantees that “the rights of foreign citizens are safeguarded through Decree-Law No. 10-A/2020, of March 13, in its current wording”. Which, he adds, “ensures the validity of documents and visas relating to the stay in national territory until December 31, 2022, and that they continue to be accepted, under the same terms, after December 31, 2022, provided that their holder proves that he has already scheduled the respective renewal”.

Faced with so many cases similar to that of the millionaire based in the United Arab Emirates – not to mention what happens to poorer emigrants with far fewer legal resources – it is not surprising that the Minister of Internal Administration, José Luís Carneiro, has announced the restructuring of the SEF already next year. The objective is to “separate the police functions of border control and management and the administrative functions of reception, integration of immigrants and asylum”, explained the minister.

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Lisbon: Chinese manifested for the lack of response in the Golden Visas

Chinese citizens speak out against delays in Portuguese Golden visas
Chinese citizens protesting against Golden Visa delays. | © TVI Notícias

Dozens of citizens of the People’s Republic of China filed complaints with the Foreigners and Borders Service this Thursday.

Dozens of citizens of the People’s Republic of China filed complaints this Thursday and demonstrated in front of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), in Lisbon, for the lack of response to requests for the granting of Golden Visas.

In addition to the complaint about lack of information, the approximately 50 people present in front of the SEF exhibited words of protest written on sheets of paper.

“Are the Golden Visas a cruel mistake?”

asks the phrase written on the poster of Lily, who has been waiting since 2014 to be granted a Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI), which became known as the Golden Visa.

“We chose to come to Portugal because we thought it was easy. The Portuguese Government announced that the SEF would provide the Golden Visa within 90 days and we thought it would be a quick process”, she told Lusa Lily, adding that she did not understand the silence of the Portuguese authorities.

“We don’t understand why it took so long. Without the Golden Visa, we cannot move or start our business. Our relatives cannot join us. We just have problems. Many families have already paid for their children’s schools here in Portugal, but without the document the children cannot come here to study”, she laments.

Another member of the group explains that “more than 1,000 families” are waiting in “various provinces” of China for the process to be unblocked and that “about two hundred” Chinese citizens are waiting in Portugal, especially in the Cascais area, for the assignment or renewal of the Golden Visa after having submitted the required documentation.

“When we want to talk to them (SEF), like today, they tell us they don’t want to talk to Chinese people.

How can a person feel after hearing this? We came here to file grievances and ask for answers. We just want answers. We need guarantees,” says Jessica, a young woman from northern China who applied for a Golden Visa in Portugal.

“I was received once, but then I never got any answers. The authorities only asked me for my plane ticket to prove that I am in Portugal. I’ve been here for two and a half years. I’ve been here at the SEF more than 10 times and I can’t get anything”, complains Jessica.

The Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI), was presented by the previous government as a possibility for foreign investors to require a residence permit in Portugal for the purposes of carrying out an investment activity subject to certain requirements, namely the transfer of capital, job creation or property purchase.

Contacted by Lusa, the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI), said that the delay in authorizations of Golden Visas “is based on the decentralization of the processing of processes as a result of recommendations from the General Inspectorate of Internal Administration”.

According to the MAI, the delay is also due to the treatment of authorizations (ARI) in “equal conditions compared to other processes”, adding as other reasons the suspension “of the procedure, for one month, due to the recent legislative change”, as well as shortcomings in the instruction of the processes by the applicants.

“The SEF guarantees scrupulous compliance with the law in the processing of Residence Permits for Investment Activity”, the Ministry of Internal Affairs also informed Lusa.

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How, after all, the illegal network of Golden Visas worked – and what does the minister have to do with it

Operation Labyrinth found exactly that: a labyrinth of relationships within the State that managed to obtain gloves to grant Golden Visas. Updated record of what is known about how this network operated.

The details of the Labirinto investigation are beginning to be known, which identified strong suspicions of corruption in the granting of Golden Visas to Portugal. Here is a summary, revised and added, to know the essentials. To facilitate reading, we have bolded the protagonists, with the sources annotated.

  • At the top of the network were António Figueiredo, until now president of the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN), and Maria Antónia Enes, who was secretary general of the Ministry of Justice. The latter was, before that, coordinator at IRN.
  • The two had privileged access to information about the properties. And they are suspected of negotiating and inflating real estate, in exchange for Golden Visas issued quickly, through some real estate agencies. According to this Saturday’s DN, the PJ has images of ‘gloves’ paid in cash, but also records of bank transfers as payments for this illegal service. JN adds that there was an account opened for this at Caixa de Crédito Agrícola in Tabuaço, the birthplace of António Figueiredo, where his cousin works. This account, says Correio da Manhã, will have been used to launder a few tens of thousands of euros. There were more IRN officials collaborating on the scheme.
  • According to several newspapers, the payments reached more than 500 thousand euros. In practice, extra money for the purchase of apartments or real estate would not be necessary, according to the criteria of the law, for foreign investors to obtain a visa. But the inadequate valuation of real estate allowed the members of this network to remain with a high value from the sale of the property.
  • There is another hypothesis under investigation: that there was fraud against the State in these schemes, where investors paid less for the property than required by law (500 thousand euros), with a part for gloves. In the notarial register, the value of law would be written, with the help of several people at the IRN. As for the deposit in a bank account, also required, it was later withdrawn without any supervision.
  • SEF president Manuel Jarmela Palos, who has been in office since 2005 (he was also appointed by António Costa), is suspected of turning a blind eye to these payments. According to Correio da Manhã, he and the president of the IRN even made a trip to China, accompanied by real estate agencies, with the aim of attracting clients for the operation. Diário de Notícias added that Manuel Palos is suspected of two crimes of passive corruption, for charging 10% commissions to speed up the granting of these visas.
  • There are also suspicions related to a protocol signed by the Ministry of Justice and Angola for the training of notary staff in Angola. According to DN, António Figueiredo may have worked with an Angolan businessman who has a branch in Portugal, Lusomerap, taking advantage of his position at the IRN.
  • One of the companies in the real estate sector that are also under suspicion is Golden Visa Europe, which belongs to António Figueiredo’s daughter, Ana Luísa Figueiredo. Another is, according to Correio da Manhã, Flowmotion, which will belong to the son of Maria Antónia Anes. The two have Chinese businessmen as partners. There is also a third company investigated, Leite e Enes Ltd, which belongs to Maria Antónia Enes and her husband.
  • There is another detainee (among the 11) allegedly also involved in the scheme. This is Jaime Couto Alves, who owns a company, Projects & Business, which is also suspected of attracting clients. The partners of this company are the daughter of António Figueiredo (owner of Golden Visa Europe) and Luís Marques Mendes, former PSD president and former minister. Mendes said on SIC-Notícias that the company has been inactive for some years and that it has never received anything related to Golden Visas. The current Minister of Internal Administration, Miguel Macedo, was also a partner in the company, but sold the shares in 2011.
  • Miguel Macedo, who was caught in the wiretapping, will have had his office investigated by the PJ on Thursday, due to an appointment of a SEF liaison officer who was supposed to go to China, to prevent schemes of this type, but whose appointment has been stopped at the MAI for eight months, says Correio da Manhã. The minister even submitted his resignation, but the prime minister did not accept it. Macedo is responsible for reappointing the president of the SEF, but he is a partner in a law firm with another defendant, Albertina Gonçalves, until now secretary general at the Ministry of the Environment. The minister ended up presenting his resignation on Sunday. He was replaced by Anabela Rodrigues.
  • The Golden Visa legislation was published in 2012 by Paulo Portas, but was meanwhile revised in an ordinance, allowing the attribution rules to be made more flexible, in order to attract more investors. Portas and Macedo signed this ordinance, recalls JN.
  • In the middle of the process, the former director of the SIS, Antero Luís, was also caught in the process, from whom António Figueiredo will have asked buyers for an apartment in Leiria. The current director of the SIS was also seen by the PJ helping, António Figueiredo, to see if he was being tapped. Correio da Manhã notes that PJ investigators suspect that the Secretas could be undermining the investigation. And the DN adds that the head of the various Secretas offices, Júlio Pereira, even had dinner at Maria Antónia Enes’ house, also accompanied by António Figueiredo.
  • SIC advanced that there are already 14 defendants in the process, but only ten were present to the judge for the first judicial interrogation. Of those who were heard by the investigating judge Carlos Alexandre, over the course of five days of interrogation, five were held in preventive custody. Among those arrested are the director of the IRN and the SEF, the first leader of a criminal police body to be arrested in a process involving crimes of corruption. The SEF director may also see the preventive detention measure converted into house arrest. The coercive measures were based on the danger of continuation of criminal activity. Among the defendants are IRN officials and Chinese citizens, who would serve as intermediaries. There is at least one lawyer who would also collaborate in the visa assignment process.
  • The investigation phase now continues with the collection of more evidence. Only after the investigation is substantiated will the suspects be, or not, formally charged.
  • At stake are crimes of corruption, influence peddling, embezzlement and money laundering.

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Lawyer drew millions with scams on Golden Visas

Maria Antónia Cameira the Portuguese Golden Visa scammer
Maria Antónia Cameira, the Portuguese lawyer and Golden Visa scammer who stole at least 10 million euros (but surely much more that we will never know) from foreign investors. | © Correio da Manhã

She even traveled to China and South Africa to attract clients. She received the money but then did the deeds for the houses in her name

Foreign citizens believed that they had a lawyer in front of them who would solve their problems with the residence permit in Portugal through the Golden Visas. They were mainly Brazilians, South Africans and Chinese and entrusted Maria Antónia Cameira with large sums, in the order of millions, to ensure the purchase of houses, worth at least 500 thousand euros. But the lawyer, who has been in custody since July last year, ended up keeping the money and is now accused by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of crimes of qualified fraud and forgery of documents. In addition to the lawyer, the firm she represented is also accused.

According to the District Attorney General of Lisbon (PGDL), the indictment indicates that, at least since 2014, taking into account the Golden Visa processes, the defendant “prepared a plan, using a law firm, of which she was legal representative, which consisted of promoting their legal services, as well as the acquisition of real estate properties, with them”.

But the scheme went further than mere legal service. “As part of the plan, having obtained the monetary amounts referring to the properties, the defendant, instead of carrying out the corresponding deeds and purchase and sale, for which she was mandated, came to make them her own,

forging information from the SEF, property books and permanent property certificates, making investors convinced of their acquisition and the regular progress of the process with the SEF, so as not to be detected”, informs the PGDL, which did not advance values. But at the time of the arrest, around 10 million euros were referenced in the scam.

The lawyer even went to South Africa and China to contact potential clients. “To publicize her alleged intermediary activity in the acquisition of properties and provision of legal services in obtaining Golden Visas, the defendant advertised on the Internet, entered into cooperation agreements with agencies and real estate agents and traveled to different countries where she contacted possible customers, namely, in South Africa and China”.

The inquiry was conducted by the MP in the 8th section of the DIAP in Lisbon, with the assistance of the PJ, and if the defendants do not request the instruction, it will soon go to trial.

Condemned in England

This lawyer has already been sentenced in England to six years in prison, for having misappropriated 312,000 euros from a client of law firms that she managed in London. The money served, according to the British court, to pay expenses and finance the luxurious life of the Portuguese woman. She was tried in absentia in 2012 and fled to Lisbon before her conviction.

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Brits seek runaway lawyer

Maria Antónia Cameira sentenced to 6 years in prison for fraud.

The English court issued an arrest warrant on behalf of a Portuguese lawyer, for the crime of fraud. Maria Antónia Cameira was sentenced to six years in prison for having misappropriated 312,000 euros from a client of the two law firms she runs in London, England. The money served, according to the court, to pay expenses and finance the luxurious life of the Portuguese woman.

Maria Antónia Cameira began to be judged on the 10th, and, three days later, she flew from England to Lisbon, where the authorities believe that the lawyer is living. An escape before knowing the sentence, last Tuesday.
The lawyer continued to be tried in absentia, for a crime in 2012. That year, the victim sought the services of the company Cameira Law to mediate the purchase of a house. She deposited the money into the company account, but it was withdrawn. And the house was never bought.

According to what was said in court, between May and August of that year the money was used for other purposes. Maria Antónia Cameira will have used 101 thousand euros to pay debts and the rest for her personal use.

Investigations of bank accounts show that this money was spent on purchasing luxury goods and services.

“Ms. Cameira abused her position of trust and authority. As soon as she realized that things were not going well in court, she fled England. The victim deserves justice,” said John Schofield, of the Financial Crime Unit, responsible for the investigation.

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July 19 Update: Golden Visa Won’t End

The Assembly of the Republic of Portugal met on July 19 and approved the final version of the Mais Habitação bill, which includes significant changes to the Golden Visa regime. In particular, all real estate investment options, whether direct or indirect, will be eliminated by the new law.

The main implications of this legislation are as follows:
  • All requests pending from the SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service) will be evaluated in accordance with the laws in force at the time of their submission;
  • The minimum stay requirement for maintaining residence permits will remain at an average of 7 days per year;
  • Residence permit renewals will follow the same initial rules as before;
  • Family reunifications are guaranteed under the same terms as the main requests;
  • Investment routes related to real estate and equity transfer are no longer eligible;
  • The law will enter into force the day after its official publication.

Despite the changes, the Golden Visa program will continue to exist. The types of eligible investments are as follows:

  1. 500,000 euros in collective investment structures, i.e. funds and others not directly or indirectly related to real estate;
  2. Creation or entry into the share capital of existing companies, together with the creation of jobs and a minimum investment of €500,000;
  3. Donations and other types of investment in the artistic, cultural and/or scientific fields.
Next stages:

After approval by the plenary, the proposal will be returned to the Commission responsible for finalizing the text within a specified period (if not yet defined, it will be five days).
Once the final wording is defined, it will be published in the Assembly Journal.
During a three-day working period, corrections to the final wording can be requested, and a decision on these corrections will be taken within 24 hours, which may be subject to appeal.

After that, the text will be sent to the President of the Republic. The President then has 20 days to ratify the proposal, leading to its final publication. Alternatively, the President can exercise a political veto, which the Assembly can override after 15 days. If the veto is overridden, the President has eight days to enact the law. The text can also be sent to the Constitutional Court, where a ruling can take up to an additional 25 days, possibly leading to amendments or reassessments.

If requested by a fifth of the deputies (46 out of 230), a preventive review by the Constitutional Court is possible. After completing all the necessary steps, the final proposal is sent to the Diário da República for official publication, taking effect on the day following publication.

These procedures can run quickly or suffer from various obstacles that delay the outcome of the proposal, making it impossible to accurately predict the exact deadline for each of them. We will monitor the progress of this legislative process and advise all interested parties.

Important note: Investors can still apply for Golden Visa real estate investment options under current legislation.

A country where criminals and the powerful are systematically protected to the detriment of victims and its citizens is the definition of a dictatorship, which is why Portugal should leave the EU.


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Don’t invest in Portugal, a solicitor kept €20,000 of my money from a property transaction made up an excuse to take my money and said they were claiming off their insurance to pay me back that was three years ago , it is a female solicitor in Lisbon be careful , I’ve got to make an appointment and go and see their embassy in London to try and make it more official.

How to become a millionaire in Portugal ? To go there as a multi-millionaire. Most people who I have met there were unreliable, lying, ignorant, rude people. With some positive exceptions. I am happy with this site. It is a dark country for many reasons. A shame that this country is a EU member.