Passport sales, phone sex and extortion: what do the dwarf countries earn for living

It is not easy to be a small country in our difficult time. When stocks of coconut shavings fall on the international stock market - especially! But some states are not discouraged and invent ways to make money that even Ostap Bender would envy.


Source: MAXIM

Sale of passports to wealthy people. St. Kitts and Nevis

With a population of about 48 thousand people and a curving sugar industry as the main source of income, by 2006 a small country in the Caribbean was in a deplorable state. The exit from the looming economic crisis was the sale of passports. With the help of Swiss lawyer Christian Kalin, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis offered everyone to become citizens of the country in exchange for 250 or 400 thousand dollars invested in the real estate of the country.To do this, it was not even necessary to come to St. Kitts and Nevis, citizenship can be issued remotely.

This gave new residents of St. Kitts a number of significant advantages: visa-free entry to 128 countries, including European countries, and extremely favorable tax conditions. In 2013, the country earned $ 100 million, or about 13% of GDP.

Soon, other small states followed the example of St. Kitts and Nevis, and now the industry has a turnover of about 2 billion dollars. Antigua and Barbuda joined the program in 2013, and the profit from the sale of passports is the only income of this country.

However, Prime Minister Gaston Brown insists that citizens are obliged to live in Antigua and Barbuda, otherwise "it all turns into a vulgar deal." However, permanent residence on the islands is not required, five days a year is quite enough, the prime minister said.

Of course, many large countries are dissatisfied with such amateur activities. The US is worried that Iranians can get through St. Kitts and Nevis (although the leadership of St. Kitts claims that Iranians cannot participate in the program).In 2011, Malta wanted to join the passport sales program, but after pressure from the European Union, it had to be abandoned. Although, if you think about it, even larger countries do not disdain such earnings. So, you can get a residence permit in the United States for 500 thousand dollars of investment.

Sale of passports to unsecured people. Comoros

Not only rich people can earn. There are about 10 million people in the world who formally do not have citizenship of any country. Most of them are Bedouins, nomadic tribes who did not receive Kuwaiti and UAE citizenship when these countries became independent. The UN put pressure on the Gulf countries, forcing governments to solve this problem. In 2008, the UAE offered citizenship to 8,000 Bedouins (that is, approximately 1/10 of the applicants).

At this very time, a certain Bashar Kivan, a Kuwaiti origin, but living in the Comoros (a small state in the Indian Ocean with a population of about 800 thousand inhabitants) suggested 32,000 Bedouins to become citizens of this glorious country. Of course, not for free. According to Kivan’s plan, the UAE had to pay $ 200 million for this.

At first, this proposal did not delight the native Comorians, but 200 million turned out to be a weighty argument for a country where people lived an average of $ 1.25 a day. Kivan made a fiery speech, in which he painted how schools and hospitals would appear on the Comoros, money for the money received from the Emirates, roads would be repaired and there would be a garden city.

But, of course, everything did not turn out so well: Comorians believe that Kivan had appropriated part of the funds, and the Bedouins, who were promised that Comorian citizenship would allow them to obtain UAE citizenship, also did not wait for what they wanted.

Providing lines for phone sex. Niue

It is unlikely that you have ever heard of this state before (even if you used the services of telephone priestesses of love). Its population is only 1,190 people. Until recently, citizens lived mainly through fishing, subsistence farming and occasional tourists.

That all changed in the late 1980s, when the Niue government made a deal to use the country telephone code around the world. Niueans, mostly conservative Christians, were outraged to learn that most government lines are used for telephone sex. Despite the fact that such a business brought a good income, Prime Minister Niue canceled the deal in 1997.

Providing the state telephone code. Tuvalu

Tuvalu, another island nation in the Pacific, trades around the same business as Niue, providing its phone code to anyone for money. But here they went even further: in 1997, Tuvalu acquired its own first-level domain .tv and also did not fail to sell it for $ 30,000,000. The company that bought the domain also pays $ 1,000,000 annually. And everything would be fine, but Tuvalu gradually goes under water due to global warming.

Staging musical shows. Nauru

Nauru is considered the smallest state in the world. Its population is only 9450 inhabitants. At the dawn of existence (in the 1970s and 1980s), Nauru was doing quite well: the state exported phosphates and had the highest per capita income. Naurans bought sports cars and drove them along the only road on the island or bought charter flights to fly on shopping tours to Hawaii and Fiji. The police chief had an official Lamborghini car, which he could not drive because of the extra weight.

But all good things come to an end, including phosphates. And when in the 1990s it became clearthat other sources of income should be sought, the government of Nauru made a number of rash investments, and the most idiotic was the production of a musical show telling about love between Leonardo da Vinci and Mona Lisa. The world tour of the show should have brought Nauru profits, but the show failed at the very first show.

At present, the main source of income for Nauru is granting citizenship to people who are banned from entering Australia.

Sale of postage stamps. Former British Island Colonies

Collecting stamps was very popular in the 19th century, and at the beginning of the 20th century it became an insanity. This was in the hands of small states like Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island, lost in the Atlantic Ocean.

Half of the income of Saint Helena is revenue from the sale of postage stamps for collectors and coins. With Tristan da Cunha is even more interesting: in 1961 its inhabitants were evacuated due to the eruption of the volcano, and today 264 people live there permanently. Nevertheless, the income from the sale of brands here is very solid. And this is despite the fact that the first brand, released here in 1942, was exchanged for potatoes and cigarettes, because there was no money on the island.

Sale of policies. Kingdom of Tonga

A small island nation of Tonga, located in the Pacific Ocean, following the example of its brethren, was selling passports to Hong Kong residents concerned about the fact of its transfer from Great Britain to China. The proceeds from the King of Tonga Taufa’ahau Tupu IV were kept in Bank of America in a private account. When a bank employee Jesse Bogdonoff once saw a $ 20 million bill, he immediately called the King of Tonga and offered to become his financial advisor. Also (at his own request) he was appointed court jester under the king of Tonga.

On the recommendation of Jesse Bogdanoff, King Tonga made a number of investments (including in life insurance policies for Americans with terminal diseases) and lost almost all the money. In Tonga, a crisis broke out, the national currency depreciated, the standard of living fell. The state of Tonga was suing a hapless business consultant (his previous work experience consisted mainly in selling miraculous back magnets) and won the case. But this did not correct the financial situation.

Extortion. Eritrea

Eritrea’s small African state is one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, so it’s not surprising that people are looking for a better life outside the country.The Eritrean government has realized that it can have income in currency from a solid diaspora around the world. Therefore, now all Eritreans living outside the state must pay 2% of their basic income annually. In order to receive money that the country seems to be owed to the Eritrean government, it goes to extortion, blackmail and intimidation - for example, it puts pressure on the relatives of those who left, does not give them passports ...

The British government demanded that the Eritrean consulate stop the illegal extortion, and the consulate took this step. True, this means that the Eritreans should pay the same money not in the UK, but in their homeland.

The lion’s share of the proceeds from refugees is being spent by the Eritrean government to support Islamist militants to destabilize Ethiopia.

Arms trade. Antigua

In 1989, Israel received an order for 100 Uzi assault rifles and 400 assault rifles to arm the army of Antigua, an idyllic state in the Pacific. The order was executed, although the Antigua army consisted of only 70 people and all had weapons purchased from the United States.

A month later in Colombia, there was a major clash between the Medellín drug cartel and the police. As it turned out, the drug cartel was armed with Israeli weapons.The prime suspect was Prime Minister Antigua Vera Bird. Selling was his eldest son. Also in Antigua it was planned to create a training camp for Tamil rebels from Sri Lanka.

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