From Malta to Cyprus, some EU states are selling citizenship and permanent residence at a premium. A market for a select few and not without problems.
When the Maltese government published the names of the Mediterranean archipelago’s new citizens in December, Mathew Caruana Galizia pointedly announced on Twitter that “obfuscated among them are the many who paid €650k for Maltese passports for their entire family. This list provides ripe pickings for investigative journalists from all over the world”. Galizia is just such a journalist. He has investigated tax evasion on an international scale, including the Luxembourg Leaks and the Panama Papers. His mother, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was murdered when a car bomb blew up her vehicle in October last year. Daphne was famous for her investigations into Maltese politicians who were implicated in corruption and money laundering. Fingers are now being pointed at Malta’s programme permitting citizenship through investment. Introduced by the government in 2014, the programme offers a Maltese passport and consequently European citizenship to those who pay €650,000 into a national development fund or purchase €150,000 in state bonds. Passports for spouses and adult children are also available at a cost of €25,000 or €50,000, respectively.