BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Financial watchdog groups say special state bonds issued by Hungary, which allowed foreign buyers and their families to obtain Hungarian residency permits before being discontinued last year, cost the country over $76 million because of their high yields compared to other bonds issued by Hungary.

Transparency International and the Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest also said Monday that intermediary firms offering the bonds made a profit of $220 million from the scheme at the expense of Hungarian taxpayers, as they kept a percentage of the bonds’ price.

The watchdogs described the bond program as a “gateway for the corrupt” who could use it as a money-laundering ploy.

Based on its own calculations, Hungary’s government said the residency bonds, which were acquired mostly by Chinese citizens, actually saved Hungary $11 million.