Latvia denies former Moscow mayor residency

The Latvian government has banned Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow's former mayor from taking up residence in the country.

The powerful Russian, who fell out of favour in Moscow and and was sacked as mayor in September, had applied for permanent residency in the Baltic country.

Last year, lawmakers in Latvia decreed that foreign citizens who owned property in the country above a certain value would be allowed permanent residency. The controversial law was intended to boost the country's property market. However, it also appears to have attracted certain undesirables, who would be granted free passage through the Schengen zone as a part of the residency.

Nevertheless, Latvia's Interior Minister Linda Murniece felt obliged to step in and make a special dispensation to outlaw Luzhhov, who had previously voiced highly anti-Latvian sentiments:

"My reason for putting him on the blacklist is his attitude to Latvia, his hostile statements about Latvia, his wish to use Latvia to achieve his private goals, as his goal obviously was not to invest in Latvia ... but to use Latvia for free travel in the Schengen zone," she said.

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