MALTA: MEPs Raise Concerns That Jurisdiction Is Granting Golden Visas to Executives Behind Spyware Firms.

As published on schengenvisainfo.com, Monday 31 October, 2022.

European parliamentarians have expressed their concerns regarding claims that Malta is offering Golden Passports to the executives behind spyware firms, according to the Shift News.

In this regard, the Dutch Member of the European Parliament, Sophie in ‘t Veld, said that three European Union Member States, in particular, are easing the proliferation of spyware across the EU countries, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

According to her, Malta is also included in these three countries, which according to her are providing Golden Passports to the executives behind the spyware companies, as well as Cyprus and Luxembourg.

“This is not about a handful of governments spying on their citizens; it is all over Europe. All governments are using this, and some of them are abusing it. Different European Union countries play different roles in a scheme that spans the whole of Europe,” in ‘t Veld pointed out in this regard.

She stressed that the whole business is intertwined with governments as well as government funding.

In ‘t Veld said that she also monitored how authorities’ attitudes regarding the enforcement of guidelines on the usage of spyware had gone from “the presumption of compliance [by member states] to the pretense of compliance”.

Malta is continuously attempting to help the country’s economic sector growth, especially after damages caused by the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants. At present, wealthy internationals are eligible to acquire residency and citizenship in Malta through the Golden Visa and the Golden Passport scheme, more specifically.

Through the Golden Visa scheme, internationals are eligible to acquire residency in Malta, provided they make a specific amount of money investment, while the Citizenship by Investment scheme permits internationals to acquire citizenship in this country provided they meet specific conditions and make financial contributions.

However, both programs have often been criticized for being involved in many unlawful affairs such as money laundering and corruption, while authorities in the EU countries have continuously called Malta’s government to abolish such a scheme after it is considered an open door to many unlawful affairs.

Last month, the European Commission confirmed that it would take Malta to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), following the country’s Golden Passport scheme involvement in unlawful affairs.

The Commission estimated that granting EU citizenship in return for pre-determined payments without a genuine link to European Union Member Countries goes against EU law.

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