As published on maltatoday.com.mt, Wednesday 16 March, 2022.
Three applicants to Malta’s IIP have had their citizenship revoked throughout the scheme’s lifetime, according to Parliamentary Secretary Alex Muscat.
Speaking to MaltaToday, Muscat said the three applicants had their citizenship revoked because of misconduct on their side after their Maltese passport was issued.
The three applicants in question are of Egyptian, Chinese, and Russian nationality.
Muscat reiterated that no applicants have been placed under sanctions as a result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict
However, Muscat said that government would take action against sanctioned individuals who acquired Maltese citizenship.
This applies to those who received a passport through the citizenship-by-investment scheme, and those who acquired citizenship by other means.
For example, if a Russian oligarch acquired Maltese citizenship because their spouse in Maltese, government has free reign to take action and revoke their citizenship if placed under a sanctions list and deemed to be a security threat.
There has been a newfound impetus at EU level to crack down on European citizenship-by-investment schemes, more commonly known as golden passports schemes.
The European Parliament and European Commission appear to be on the same page for calling time on elites who use countries like Malta to buy EU citizenship.
At the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, EC President Ursula von der Leyen said that the Commission will commit to taking measures to limit the sale of so-called golden passports “that let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems".
Von der Leyen had already warned that Malta’s citizenship-by-investment scheme has to stop in a visit to Prime Minister Robert Abela.
Meanwhile, almost the entire European Parliament voted in favour of a legislative proposal asking Brussels to propose a law to shut down citizenship-by-investment schemes.
In fact, Malta’s four Labour MEPs were the only members of the entire S&D Group not to vote in favour of the report, which calls for the stoppage of all citizenship-by-investment schemes by 2025 through a gradual phasing-out.
A total of 595 out of 681 MEPs voted in favour of the report, signalling to the European Commission that it now must propose a way how to shut the door to elites who use countries like Malta to buy EU citizenship.