The Malta Independent 15 May 2021, Saturday

Passport Papers investigation is 'an attack on Malta', junior minister says

Sunday, 25 April 2021, 13:40 Last update: about 19 days ago

Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities Alex Muscat has claimed that the Passport Papers investigation is an attack on Malta.

The Passport Papers is a collaborative investigation by a number of local and international newsrooms, of which The Malta Independent is a part of. This newsroom recently revealed that receipts for Pastizzi from Rabat's famous Crystal Palace Bar and for a Red Bull from a nightclub in Paceville were amongst the so-called "genuine links" presented by IIP candidates in order to prove the ties they had developed to Malta as they sought to get their hands on a passport. In addition, IIP applicants were spending only an average of 16 days in Malta out of their supposed 12-month residency period, documents revealed in the Passport Papers show.

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Muscat defended the IIP scheme in a Facebook post.

Tiftakru meta l-Partit Nazzjonalista kien jibgħat nies fl-ajruport jiġru bil-mikrofoni wara min ried jinvesti...

Posted by Alex Muscat on Sunday, 25 April 2021

"Do you remember when the Nationalist Party used to send people to the airport with a microphone running after people who wanted to invest in our country? Back then I used to work as a policy coordinator within the Office of the Prime Minister. There is so much eagerness for something new to come out on the Maltese citizenship programme that now we are reporting on stories that are not stories."

"To be asked about and criticised on my work is part of the job. But this is an attack on Malta. The government was working to attract foreign direct investment to the country. That is what we have to do. It does not mean that everyone who stepped foot in Malta was eligible to get citizenship. What is the real offence? To publicly harass? That you confuse facts, including the concept of legal residence and physical presence, to imply things which aren't true. I am not going to stay mentioning all the inaccuracies that are being reported as though they are something new. But I am making it clear, we will continue working to bring foreign direct investment to the country."

"This is the plan that the people strongly voted for. The Maltese initiatives are the most rigorous in the EU and are allowing us to invest in the Maltese and Gozitan communities."

"My appeal to the news media: In this country there is agreement on our initiative. The Opposition is suggesting ways as to how we can invest the funds coming from foreign direct investment. Don't let anyone take advantage of you. Be objective. Be honest."

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