The Malta Independent 6 June 2023, Tuesday
View E-Paper

Company run by Russian Malta golden passport holder blocked on London Stock Exchange

Albert Galea Thursday, 3 March 2022, 12:18 Last update: about 4 months ago

The London Stock Exchange has suspended trading in a number of companies which have strong links to Russia, including a company run by a Russian millionaire who acquired a Maltese passport through Individual Investor Programme (IIP).

Company Polyus Gold, under the management of Pavel Grachev, is one of a list of 27 companies which includes energy giants Gazprom and bank Sberbank which was affected by the stock exchange’s suspension.


Polyus Gold is the largest producer of gold in Russia and one of the world’s largest gold mining companies.  Almost half of Grachev’s declared net worth of €42 million is derived from a single “bonus payment” of €20 million paid to him by a BVI shell company, Ninelco Investments Ltd.

Pavel Grachev and his family received a Maltese passport through the IIP scheme in 2017, having applied through Henley & Partners in 2014.

Grachev’s name was one of many unearthed in the Passport Papers investigation, coordinated by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, which The Malta Independent was a part of.

In order to satisfy the 12-month residency requirement to be granted a passport, documents showed that Grachev rented a flat at Portomaso in St Julians for €2,800 per month.

Further documents showed that he spent less than ten hours in Malta in 2014, while other documents showed that he spent a total of 21 days in Malta in 2015.

The “genuine links” shown by Grachev in order to justify his ties to the country for the benefit of his citizenship application included a bus card, a loyalty card for a bookshop and a receipt for the chartering of a boat. Tickets to a heritage site costing €22.50 meanwhile were labelled as “Cultural links with the Islands”.

The Passport Papers investigation had shown how IIP applicants used links which were tenuous at best in order to justify their ties to the island as they sought to gain citizenship.

The Passport Papers investigation has now been shortlisted for an IJ4EU Impact Award.

Malta on Wednesday suspended citizenship applications for people from Russia and Belarus in response to the war which both those countries have waged against Ukraine in recent days.

The Parliamentary secretariat responsible for citizenship said that the suspension was because the war and its resulting sanctions against Russia and Belarus made it impossible to carry out the necessary due diligence checks on applicants.

The action came after significant pressure both locally and abroad for Malta to stop issuing citizenship to Russian oligarchs, who may use Malta’s EU passport to circumvent international sanctions.

It was also a u-turn on the government’s previous policy, with a number of figures including the Prime Minister defending the scheme. 

  • don't miss