Thursday 04 June 2020

Russian millionaire and former MP ‘still has refugee status in Netherlands’

A Russian multi-millionaire and former member of parliament has retained his Dutch refugee status despite not living in the Netherlands for years, NRC reported.

Yuri Sverdlov was granted asylum in 1991, around the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, but later returned to St Petersburg where he became a businessman and politician, representing Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party in the Duma from 2007 to 2011.

Immigration officials have tried three times without success to cancel Sverdlov’s refugee status since 2011. He retains a postal address in Ermelo at a property owned by a business associate, millionaire poultry farmer Bart van den Brink.

The newspaper said it had seen documents about a number of cases being handled by the immigration service IND’s revocation team. Others include a Jamaican man who murdered his partner and a Turkish man who has been convicted of violent offences in his homeland.

Refugees are supposed to lose their right to asylum if they leave the Netherlands, commit criminal offences or lie about the reason they fled their country. The IND told NRC it did not comment on individual cases, but worked to prevent arbitrary decision-making by implementing ‘retrospective quality controls’ and ‘an optional peer review in advance’.


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