Strict due diligence

Strict due diligence

The European Parliament yesterday again debated schemes selling ‘golden visas’, or as ours does the sale of passports, to people willing and able to pay for it.

The discussion evolved exactly as you would have expected it. European citizenship is a joint responsibility of member states who are free to regulate access to their own citizenship but must do so with due care for the implications on the other countries. (You can watch the debate on the Parliament’s video service. The ‘Golden Visas’ section of the debate starts at 15:00).

There is cross-party consensus that these schemes are immoral (they put a price on citizenship which is earned through history not through money), dangerous (they open the doors to money laundering and tax dodging), unfair (they reserve special treatment for the rich while the poor are kicked out and repatriated), unsafe (they create a security risk of uncontrolled penetration of people and money intended for terrorism and crime).

Of course there are dissenters. Three MEPs — Alfred Sant, Myriam Dalli and a Portuguese MEP — stood up to say that their passports are sold after stringent due diligence checks. That does not address the ethical issues but hopes to address the concerns of security risks.

It would go some way in allaying figures if the scheme was transparent, if applicants were identified, if their residence was verified, if their compliance with our own rules was confirmed. None of this happens.

The reasons for firm opposition against this scheme remain valid today as they were when the scheme was first started. Those initial fears have been confirmed by the repetitional harm suffered by Malta and by the few incidents we became aware of: the passport to Lalit Modi a tax fugitive from India, passports to Arkady Volozh, Boris Mints, Alexander Natanovich Nesis, shortlisted for sanctions by the US Treasury, passport to Nguyen The Nguyet Huong found to have obtained citizenship against the laws of her own country, passport to Christopher Chandler who acquired a Maltese passport to secure European citizenship while helping organise the exit of the UK from the European Union, passports to Vyacheslav Solovyov and Oleg Vladimirovich Murdyan who lied on their application about their residence, and the list goes on.

Of course these are the few names that leaked. So many other names are written on files kept under lock and key that would uncover a complex web of corruption, money laundering and fraud fuelled by Malta’s good name.

While you reflect on that, watch this satirical video posted by Il-Kenniesa. I used the adjective ‘satirical’ because with time I realise too many people do not get sarcasm or satire if they jumped naked around them and kissed them on the lips. 

Anatomy of #DisinformationAny similarity with persons living or dead is purely accidental. #satire #DisInfoWatch

Geplaatst door Il-Kenniesa op woensdag 30 mei 2018