Brexit billionaire Christopher Chandler obtains EU passport through Malta IIP

Christopher Chandler is the founder of Dubai-based investment company Legatum Group, whose think-tank was a vocal advocate for Britain’s departure from the EU

Christopher Chandler
Christopher Chandler

The New Zealand-born billionaire behind Legatum, a London based think-tank and advocate for Britain’s departure from the single market and the customs union, has obtained EU citizenship via Malta.

Christopher Chandler is the founder of Dubai-based investment company Legatum Group, which is the main backer of the Legatum Institute Foundation, whose charitable status has come under scrutiny following concerns over its “hard” Brexit stance and access to politicians.

The Financial Times reported thatt Legatum Foundation Limited, the charitable arm of Legatum Group, provided £3.9m of a total of £4.3m in funding to the think-tank, which after the Brexit vote hired several Eurosceptics, including Matthew Elliott, a co-founder of Vote Leave.

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The names of Chandler, as well as Legatum’s chief executive Mark Stoleson, and several of his family members appear on a list of individuals who became naturalised citizens of Malta in 2016.

The list includes other prominent recipients such as Boris Mints, the Russian billionaire owner of investment company O1 Group, and Arkady Volozh, the founder of Yandex, Russia’s biggest search engine. Elena Rybolovleva, whose acrimonious divorce from Russian tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev made international headlines several years ago, also features.

Under Malta’s scheme, individuals can obtain Maltese passports in return for a €650,000 contribution to the national development fund and the purchase or lease of property, as well as well as investments of at least €150,000 in stocks and bonds. Family members can be added for an additional fee of €25,000 to €50,000 per person. The main applicant for the citizenship must have legal residence status in Malta for a minimum period of one year.