A Dutch government investigation has found that the lawyer Malta’s government hired to convince the European Commission it was ok to sell its passports to people who never come here broke his university rules by not reporting his work for Malta.

Dimitry Kochenov featured in a Dutch TV investigation last September which started the investigation into his conduct. He was hired by Malta’s government even though he also sat on an advisory board for Henley and Partners, the company that profited most from Kochenov’s unorthodox legal opinion.

Netherlands education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven told the Dutch parliament yesterday that a committee investigation Kochenov found a “picture of a conflict of interest”.

The report says that Kochenov has not reported his advisory position and the related income to his superior at the University of Groningen. Nor has he requested permission from the Faculty Board to work for the Maltese government.

“This was largely due to Kochenov himself, according to the commission of inquiry, but the institution is also not going to go unpunished,” Van Engelshoven told the Dutch Parliament. The situation could have been prevented if the university had stricter rules about ancillary activities.

Because Kochenov did not report his income to the university, “the University of Groningen was unable to judge whether this income was lawful or unlawful.” Moreover, he should have been aware of the “politically sensitive context” in which this occurred.

The Dutch minister expressed the wish for the fees charged by Kuchenov to be reimbursed but there are doubts about the legal basis for this.

Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt commented for this Dutch TV report saying that “Dutch security services consider the trade of passports undesirable from the point of view of national security. It is good that Professor Kochenov has finally ended his concealed ancillary positions,” said Pieter Omtzigt. He said he is pleased that “measures are being taken and that the University of Groningen is putting things in order.”