The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

Chairman of IIP board is ill-informed about passport sale process, Peter Agius says

Albert Galea Tuesday, 21 May 2019, 14:42 Last update: about 6 months ago

It is no wonder that the European Commission is worried about Malta’s passport sales and the due diligence related it to it when the Chairman of the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) board, Ian Castaldi Paris, is himself ill-informed about the process, PN MEP candidate Peter Agius told this newsroom.

Agius was referring to a televised debate on Realta’ led by Brian Hansford, wherein Castaldi Paris insisted that the Maltese Government is publishing the names of IIP beneficiaries with ‘Everyone knowing their names’.

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“This is not the case, given that names of new citizens by investment are jumbled up with others acquiring citizenship through other legitimate means, notably through naturalisation acquired through marriage with Maltese citizens”, Agius said.

The European Commission has expressed serious concerns about Malta’s passport sales in a report submitted to the Civil Liberties Committee in January saying that Malta’s passport sales are putting in peril Europe’s Schengen system given that the European Commission is not satisfied that Malta’s due diligence is up to the European Schengen standard.

“The due diligence criteria are not capable of being verified due to the fact that IIP beneficiaries are not made public on a list of their own but included in the general update of Maltese citizens thereby rendering particular scrutiny impossible”, Agius noted.

He explained that this factor runs counter to the European Commission’s conditional part-endorsement of the scheme in January 2014 which depends precisely on the possibility to vet beneficiaries’ 12 month stay on the islands.

“How can you vet the one year residence if you don’t know the identity of passport buyers”, Agius questioned.

“The Chairman of the IIP board seems to be unaware of this as he keeps on rebutting the said claim by myself on Realta”, the MEP candidate noted.

“To get results in Europe we need to be competent and credible. Labour certainly lacks both competence and credibility on this matter and cannot therefore expect to change anything to Malta’s favour in Brussels”, Agius said.

 

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