Chetcuti Cauchi welcome IIP regulator’s report on passport sale claims

Suspended IIP agents Chetcuti Cauchi say regulator’s report confirms firm always acted correctly when selling citizenship

Chetcuti Cauchi have welcomed a report by the IIP regulator into citizenship applications handled by the firm
Chetcuti Cauchi have welcomed a report by the IIP regulator into citizenship applications handled by the firm

Passport agents Chetcuti Cauchi have welcomed a report by the IIP regulator, with the law firm saying this demonstrated that it had always acted correctly.

Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, a senior partner at the firm, said in a statement on Friday that the report’s conclusions did not come as a surprise, since they knew that allegations made in their regard were false.

His statement comes following the publication of a report on Tuesday by IIP regulator Carmel Degabriele, which found that claims made by a lawyer from Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates during a French TV sting – that he could obtain citizenship for people with a criminal record – were unfounded and that no red flags had been detected.

The French programme, Enquête Exclusive, had secretly recorded a Chetcuti Cauchi agent boasting about the firm’s 100% success rate and his close ties to politicians. The journalists were posing as representatives of a potential client.

In his statement, Chetcuti made no reference to the boastful agent’s claims caught on video, however, and simply referred to “allegations” by the TV show.

“Chetcuti Cauchi welcome with open arms the conclusions of the Office of the Regulator of the Individual Investor Programme. His task was to look into the ‘allegations’ made about our firm on the TV programme Enquete Esclusiv on the French Channel M6,” Chetcuti said.

“Following a thorough investigation, the regulator’s report has shown in crystal clear terms that allegations made on the TV programme were false. Having known the truth from the start, as well as the deceptiveness of the so-called ‘investigative’ programme, the regulator’s conclusions did not come as a surprise.”

Chetcuti said the regulator concluded his firm has never presented client with a criminal record, and that the TV programme’s allegations in this regard were “outrageous lies”.

He said the report also showed that there was no evidence that an agent had tried to find a way to get around the selection criteria, that the firm had never tried to influence a government minister, and that there were no issues during the vetting exercise.

Noting that the conclusion of the report said that “…there are no indications that CCA has ever engaged in any of the activities allegedly mentioned in the recorded programme,” Chetcuti said this demonstrated “the correctness of the firm’s work in this area, but also the strictness, professionalism and impartiality with which the MIIP Agency has dealt with our firm.”

"The firm welcomes the report by ORiip as it confirms what we stated following the allegations put forward by the French station M6. We always acted professionally, ethically and with utmost diligence, and we never broke the law. We are fully cooperating with the competent authorities, as is our duty."

After the publication of the report, Chetcuti Cauchi’s citizenship licenses remain suspended, parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli told sister newspaper BusinessToday earlier this week.

A magisterial inquiry into Chetcuti was this month given the green light by Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo, following an application by NGO Repubblika. Chetcuti has appealed the magistrate’s order.

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