European Commission steps up pressure on Malta IIP Programme and Scheme

epa06460060 The national flag of Malta is projected on the facade of the Auberge de Castille, in Valletta, Malta, late 20 January 2018, as the capital city of Malta celebrated the official inauguration day as European Capital of Culture 2018 (issued 21 January 2018). Valletta holds the title of European Capital of Culture 2018 since January 2018, along with with the city of Leeuwarden in The Netherlands. EPA-EFE/DOMENIC AQUILINA

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The European Commission has asked Malta whether it has acted on recommendations to prevent money-laundering linked to its “golden passport” scheme set up in 2014.

New Europe reports that like Cyprus and Bulgaria, Malta sells passports to investors that spend more than one million euros, usually in real estate. The EU has highlighted the risk of the scheme attracting the proceeds of criminal activity, including money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.

In November, Reuters reported on a confidential European Central Bank (ECB) report, requiring Malta’s state-owned Bank of Valletta (BoV) to stop registering foreign investors as Maltese citizens upon arrival, reducing their risk profile and, therefore, background checks.

On Monday, the European Commission’s director-general for justice Tiina Astola followed up on the ECB report asked whether the government had acted on the ECB findings on the “golden passport” scheme. In a letter to the Maltese government, the Commission is asking whether it has acted on the ECB report. A similar letter was sent to Cyprus.

The European Commission has asked for a response by January 6.

Via New Europe

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