The golden passport: global mobility for millionaires

Hosted by the Department of Sociology

In-person and online public event (Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building)


Dr Kristin Surak

Dr Kristin Surak

Thomas Anthony

Thomas Anthony


Oliver Bullough

Oliver Bullough


Professor Jason Sharman

Professor Jason Sharman



Professor Mike Savage

Professor Mike Savage

This event marks the publication of Kristin Surak’s new book, The Golden Passport: global mobility for millionaires, which offers the first on-the-ground investigation of the global market for citizenship by investment.

Drawing on fieldwork in sixteen countries, Kristin Surak exposes the world of the wealthy elites who buy passports, the states and brokers who sell them, and the normalisation of a once shadowy practice. It’s a business that thrives on uncertainty and imbalances of power between big, globalised economies and tiny states desperate for investment. In between are fascinating stories of buyers, brokers, and sellers, all ready to profit from the citizenship trade. Joining Kristin will be three experts who offer different angles into this world. Thomas Anthony, CEO of Citizenship Investment Unit of the country of Grenada, brings a Caribbean perspective on the programs. Oliver Bullough, author and journalist, has examined issues around financial crimes. Jason Sharman of Cambridge University will share his extensive knowledge of the political economy of offshore.

Meet our speakers and chair

Kristin Surak (@KristinSurak) is Associate Professor of Political Sociology at LSE. Her research on elite mobility, international migration, and politics has been translated into a half-dozen languages. In addition to publishing major academic journals, she also writes for popular outlets, including the GuardianNew Statesman, and Wallstreet Journal, and she comments regularly for the global media, including the BBC and Bloomberg TV.

Thomas Anthony is a former commercial, retail and investment banker with 26 years’ experience working in banking and financial securities sectors in Antigua, St. Lucia, and Miami. A certified financial crime specialist (CFCS) with experience in international due diligence, Thomas is a former Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua Citizenship by Investment Unit and now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Unit.

Oliver Bullough is the author of the Butler to the World: how Britain became the servant of tycoons, tax dodgers, kleptocrats and criminals, longlisted for the FT's business book of the year. His previous books include Moneyland, a Sunday Times bestseller, and two celebrated books about the former Soviet Union: The Last Man in Russia and Let Our Fame Be Great. His journalism appears regularly in the Guardian, The New York Times and GQ.

Jason Sharman is the Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge. He is the author of twelve books on topics including offshore, wealth management, financial crimes, and empire formation. Aside from his academic research, Jason has worked as a consultant with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Financial Action Task Force, and with a variety of groups in the private sector.

Mike Savage (@MikeSav47032563) is Martin White Professor of Sociology at LSE. Between 2015 and 2020 he was Director of LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, which hosts the Atlantic Fellow’s Programme, the largest global program in the world devoted to challenging inequalities. Mike is the author of eight books, including most recently The Return of Inequality: social change and the weight of the past.

More about this event

This event will be available to watch on LSE Live. LSE Live is the new home for our live streams, allowing you to tune in and join the global debate at LSE, wherever you are in the world. If you can't attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE's YouTube channel.

As a Department (@LSEsociology) we seek to produce sociology that is public-facing, fully engaged with London as a global city, and with major contemporary debates in the intersection between economy, politics and society – with issues such as financialisation, inequality, migration, urban ecology, and climate change.

This event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2023, taking place from 21 October to 17 November with events across the UK.

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