The Maltese watchdog for the country’s citizenship-by-investment scheme has denied that his department acted unlawfully when granting passports.
International Adviser reported on 22 April 2021 that an investigation by local newspaper Times of Malta discovered that wealthy individuals had been allowed to circumvent legal requirements when applying for Maltese citizenship under its golden visa scheme.
The evidence came from leaked documents belonging to global citizenship advisory firm Henley & partners.
But the watchdog overseeing the Individual Investor Programme (IIP), the Office of the Regulator IIP, told IA there were no wrongdoings on its part.
Carmel De Gabriele, regulator at the Office of the Regulator IIP, said: “In this context and to this effect, I can safely say that in vetting the various dossiers relating to the granting of citizenship under and in accordance with the provisions of the Individual Investor Programme Regulations 2014, the Office of the Regulator has always ensured that in each and every case all the legal provisions laid down in such regulations have been adhered to and, wherever necessary, appropriate legal advice has been sought to ensure that this has been the case all along.”
De Gabriele added that his duties and functions are “clearly spelt out” in Maltese legislation – specifically in articles 25 to 25b of the Maltese Citizenship Act – and that he abided by it and by any related regulation.
He also said that issues of public policy, security and data protection were also taken into account.