As published on schengenvisainfo.com, Monday 19 December, 2022.
The National Development and Social Fund, an agency engaged in administering hundreds of millions of euros produced from the sale of Malta’s Golden Passports has failed to make publish its annual audited account for last year, according to a recent report of Times Malta.
The same source reveals that back in 2015, the National Development and Social Fund was introduced in order to use a percentage of the funds from the selling of golden passports to wealthy foreigners for public interest as well as projects and other initiatives, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“The fund’s internal policy dictates that it changes auditor every five years,” the statement reads.
However, a spokesperson for the entity said the report which is published yearly by the fund is in the final stages of completion while adding that it will be published next year.
According to the spokesperson, the delay in publishing the report was a result of the change in the fund’s auditor, stressing that the fund’s internal policy notes that it changes auditor every five years.
Through the Golden Passport scheme, foreigners are eligible to acquire citizenship in Malta provided they make a specific amount of money investment and meet several requirements.
The last statement published in 2020 noted that the National Development and Social Fund received a total of €27.8 million in revenue from the Citizenship by Investment Program, known also as the Golden Passport scheme. Taking also into account the total amount of proceeds since its inception to about €600 million.
The same report noted that back in 2020, amid the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants, the funds generated by the golden passport scheme rose by 4.82 per cent, or up from €570.58 million recorded in 2019 to a total of €598.10 million in 2020.
Despite the fact that Malta’s Golden Passport program contributes significantly to the country’s economic sector, reports revealed that it was often involved in many unlawful affairs, including money laundering and corruption.
In addition, back in September, the EC said that it would take Malta to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), following the Citizenship by Investment scheme involvement in illegal affairs.
According to the report provided by the Commission, granting EU citizenship in return for pre-determined payments without a specific link to EU countries is not in line with EU laws.
“The Commission considers that granting European Union citizenship in return for pre-determined payments or investments without any genuine link to the Member State concerned is not compatible with the principle of sincere cooperation enshrined in Article 4(3) of the Treaty on EU, and with the concept of Union citizenship, as provided for in Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,” the European Commission pointed out in this regard.
However, Malta is not the only country whose Golden Passport and Golden Visa schemes raise security concerns, other European countries, such as Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Latvia and Montenegro also are famous for these schemes despite their involvement in illicit acts. Still, the European Commission has urged all European countries that offer such opportunities to wealthy internationals to terminate them as soon as possible.