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Ghost residents

Swiss home for absent Russian

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Questions are being raised about canton Zug’s practice of granting a special residency permit to a wealthy Russian, who has rarely been seen at his Swiss property.

Swiss cantons define their own rules for granting these kinds of permits to wealthy foreigners. 

Attracting the rich is one way cantonal authorities have of improving their balance sheet. They decide the minimum taxable income and wealth an individual must have in order to qualify, and also require the person in question to make Switzerland their main place of residency.

The cantons have been allowed to issue the special permits since 2008, and 44 were awarded last year, with Russians accounting for more than half. Cantons Geneva and Ticino have handed out the most to Russians, followed closely by Zug.