IIP regulator dismayed that Malta critics never bothered to meet him

The regulator who oversees Malta’s cash-for-passport scheme laments that none of the fact-finding missions from the EU critical of the IIP have bothered to request a meeting with his office

Regulator laments that critics of Malta's IIP programme have not bothered to understand the due diligence process used to screen applicants
Regulator laments that critics of Malta's IIP programme have not bothered to understand the due diligence process used to screen applicants

Malta’s golden passport scheme has come under fire from various quarters but none of these critics, it seems have ever requested a meeting with the regulator who oversees the scheme.

The information is found in the annual report released by Carmel De Gabriele, the regulator overseeing Malta’s Individual Investor Programme.

The report shows that Henley & Partners, the concessionaire tasked with marketing Malta’s IIP programme, has received €28.8 million since the programme’s inception.

It also shows that by June 2018, 961 applications for citizenship were approved by Identity Malta.

De Gabriele wrote about his “disconcertment and disbelief” that the bad publicity instigated against the IIP overlooked the due diligence process applied to all applicants.

The IIP has been criticised by Members of the European Parliament and the Opposition in Malta, which remains against the sale of citizenship.

But the incessant criticism appears to have miffed the regulator to the point that he felt it necessary to put on record that “none of the fact-finding missions” from the European Commission, the EP and other institutions, that are critical of the programme “even bothered to request a meeting” with him.

De Gabriele went one step further, insisting that these entities and individuals did not at the very least “carefully study” past annual reports before expressing their deep concerns over the IIP.

The regulator said the due diligence process applied to all applicants was rigorous and of a very high standard. He noted that since the IIP’s inception in 2014, an average of 19.5% of applications were rejected or withdrawn. 

The annual report tabled in Parliament covers the period July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

During this period, the number of IIP applications dropped to 330, which is 47 less than a year earlier.

The regulator says the number of applications was “worthy of praise” in light of the “undue and highly inconsiderate bad publicity” showered on the IIP.

IIP between July 2017 and June 2018

330 applications for citizenship were received. These included 818 dependents, of which 243 were spouses, 398 minors and 177 adult dependents that could include parents or grandparents.

Sliema and St Julians topped the list of localities in which property was purchased by IIP applicants.

The two localities accounted for 72% of property purchased by IIP applicants.

The leasing of property was spread in 26 localities with Sliema (35%) and St Julians (21%), again emerging as the most popular with IIP applicants.

The value of the 25 properties purchased during this period stood at €29.6 million.

 

IIP in numbers since inception in 2014

  • 1,431 applications for citizenship received since inception
  • 961 applications approved since inception
  • 19.5% average of applications rejected or withdrawn since inception
  • 105 properties purchased by IIP applicants
  • 724 properties leased by IIP applicants
  • €126 million invested in government stock by IIP applicants
  • €408.4 million funds paid to the National Development and Social Fund
  • €174.9 million transferred to government’s consolidated fund
  • €35.5 million paid to Identity Malta/Individual Investor Programme
  • €28.8 million commission collected by Henley & Partners
  • 159 accredited agents until June 2018

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