The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Watch: Campaigners protest as PM promotes IIP scheme in London, Calleja donates fee to charity

Friday, 20 April 2018, 08:36 Last update: about 7 years ago

Campaigners this evening protested outside a gala dinner event to promote Malta’s individual investor programme.

The event, which was attended by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, was held in central London.

A number of activists showed up with signs and placards, while a masked man with a megaphone 'advertised' Malta's IIP scheme. 

"Get your Maltese citizenship here. We offer you a great price and a great deal – no questions asked.”

"Buy your Maltese passport from the greatest salesman Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat."

Tenor Joseph Calleja, whose presence at the concert sparked controversy, dedicated an aria to slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and donated his fee to charity. 

In a Facebook post, he said he had closed off the concert by dedicating the prayer from Verdi's Requiem Ingemisco to the slain journalist.

He said all of his fee will be split in two and donated to the BoV Joseph Calleja foundation and to Our Lady Mother of God, Carmelite Monastry.

"The Archbishop, who was aware of my plans before the concert, will supervise the whole donation," he wrote.

He took time to speak to the protesters (video above), saying that although he did not agree with "many of Daphne's writings", but "I am here fulfilling a commitment made years ago."

"I am here as a professional, as a cultural ambassador," he said. "It is not an endorsement" of the passport scheme.

The Guardian earlier reported that Malta’s “cash for passports” scheme is also under the scrutiny of EU authorities. There are fears that the country is selling EU citizenship to wealthy non-residents with little connection to the island.

UK Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, yesterday called on foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, to challenge Muscat on the investigations regarding the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The Guardian reports that the challenge was made as the Prime Minister attended the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London.

Watson said Johnson must take action “over this very serious case … It is clear not enough progress has been made in the investigation of this terrible murder.” 

Malta’s government has been told to take urgent action to implement EU anti-money laundering rules, as MEPs rang the alarm about the dangers for journalists investigating financial crime following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia last October.

The pressure intensified as the country’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, attended the Commonwealth heads of government summit in London amid further calls for him to provide reassurance that her death is being fully and impartially investigated. 

Seventy-two MEPs, from six political groups, added their names to an open letter from 250 international authors, including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan, demanding the removal from office of Jason Micallef, the chairman of Valletta 2018, the European Capital of Culture.

The European parliament hopes to step up pressure on Maltese and EU authorities over the killing of Caruana Galizia. A special delegation of MEPs has called for meetings with the Maltese authorities and the European commission’s vice-president in charge of safeguarding the rule of law, Frans Timmermans.

Sven Giegold, the German Green MEP who convened the group, has long accused the commission of not doing enough. “The European commission has to overcome its light-touch policy on the rule of law problems in Malta and urgently act as the guardian of European values,” he said.

 

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