The Malta Independent 20 October 2019, Sunday

Passport scandal: Farrugia Portelli says she has no problem with any type of investigation

Tuesday, 24 September 2019, 19:47 Last update: about 24 days ago

The parliamentary secretary responsible for citizenship, Julia Farrugia Portelli said on Tuesday that she had no problem with any type of investigation into claims made by an IIP agent in a French TV sting.

She noted this when she was asked by journalists if she thinks the police should also launch an inquiry, apart from investigations launched by the IIP regulator, because the acts could constitute a criminal offence.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency, on Monday, announced on their website the suspension of the licences of Chetcuti Cauchi Advisors Ltd, holders of licences IIP 001 and IIP 124, until further notice.

The suspension came after one of its representatives was caught boasting of his friendly relations with both the Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary for citizenship. The comments were made to a journalist from French TV channel M6, who was posing as a representative of African clients seeking a Maltese passport.

The Chetcuti Cauchi law firm were one of the first agents to be granted authorisation to sell Maltese citizenship.

Farrugia Portelli said that she had never used her influence to meddle in the sale of passports and once again reiterated the the only friendship she had with one of the agents' wives was that they had gone to school together and were on the same school transport, when she was 10 years old.

Till now comments that were given in the media did not revolve around a specific accusation or a specific application, she noted.

She expressed her full confidence in the vetting process for citizenship applications and reiterated that an investigation by the IIP regulator on all files concerning the agent - Chetcuti Cauchi Advisors - had started.

When asked about the duration of the investigation by the IIP regulator, Farrugia Portelli was not specific but said it "will not take years." 

"There is no situation whereby someone wants to defend someone. There is a strong message from the government that any comment that sheds a bad light on how this process works will be investigated," Farrugia Portelli said.

When asked if this may not be an isolated case, she replied that she did not know of any similar cases but if there are other similar cases the same process needs to be followed and an investigation started.  

 

  • don't miss