Lawyer who boasted of political connections during IIP TV sting denies wrongdoing

Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, who was secretly filmed in a French journalistic sting, urges for a quick review of company licence as livelihoods of 140 employees are at stake

Jean-Philippe Chetcuti is the managing partner of Chetcutu Cauchi Advocates, the passport agent at the centre of controversy after a French TV sting
Jean-Philippe Chetcuti is the managing partner of Chetcutu Cauchi Advocates, the passport agent at the centre of controversy after a French TV sting

The managing partner of IIP agent Chetcuti Cauchi has denied ever speaking to politicians to illegally intervene on his clients’ behalf.

Lawyer Jean-Philippe Chetcuti said in a statement today that he never promised to obtain “any illegal advantage” for his clients.

The statement comes two weeks after a French TV journalistic venture secretly filmed Chetcuti boasting to an undercover journalist of his political connections and how people in authority can close an eye to clients with a criminal record.

Chetcuti Cauchi is one of the agents that sells Maltese citizenship under the Individual Investor Programme.

After the TV documentary was aired, the government IIP agency suspended Chetcuti Cauchi’s licences and referred all client files, past and present, to the regulator for investigation.

READ ALSO: Passport agents and Paceville boss boast of ministerial friendships in French TV reveal

Chetcuti’s statement indirectly confirms that he was the company representative filmed by the French journalist.

“I deny that I promised to obtain any illegal advantage for our clients. I equally deny that I ever spoke to politicians to illegally intervene on our clients’ behalf,” Chetcuti said, adding that he would only be answering questions after official investigations are over.

He added that no client of his, whose application for a Maltese passport was rejected, has ever had the rejection overturned.

“We have never accepted clients with a criminal record. In addition, none of our clients has ever had his or her citizenship revoked because of criminal convictions after citizenship was granted,” he said.

The statement says nothing about the claims Chetcuti made during the meeting with the undercover journalist.

The lawyer said the company “always acted professionally, ethically and with utmost diligence”, and never broke the law.

Chetcuti said the company was fully cooperating with the competent authorities, and urged that all investigations are completed in the shortest time possible.

“Our firm currently employs 140 people… We have no difficulty to open our doors to scrutiny by public institutions. Let them do all the work that the law obliges them to do. It does not worry us. The only thing I ask is that the review of our license is carried out in the shortest time possible. The livelihoods of 140 families are at stake,” Chetcuti said.

READ ALSO:

Maltese government refutes allegations made in French TV programme

Suspended passport sellers got to use Castille for their promotional video

Prime Minister responsible for 'pure corruption' in citizenship scheme, Adrian Delia says

More in National