The government has finally released a list of every single person who bought a Maltese passport in 2016.
It includes their names and surnames – more than enough to do some background checking to see whether there is anything we should know about them (see below for more details).
There’s only one problem – the names are buried in a list of the 2,182 people who became naturalised Maltese citizens in 2016.
Instead of printing them in separate lists, both citizenship buyers as well as citizenship earners have been combined in one large list.
There are no markers by their names, or any other way to figure out that those specific people had bought their Maltese citizenship through the Individual Investment Programme.
The Malta Government Gazette published the list, and when the Times of Malta asked for a breakdown of the passport buyers names, they were rejected.
As you’d expect, the list contains a lot of foreign surnames, including Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern surnames.
The government, for its part, has maintained that these new citizens are now Maltese citizens equal to any other, and publishing their names in a separate list or marking them out could be discriminatory.
It has also said that publishing their names could jeopardise the success of the scheme since most of the buyers preferred to keep their personal information discrete.
While exact numbers on how many people have actually bought their Maltese passport have never been released, there seems to be 1,101 main applicants according to the government-appointed regulator’s most recent report, released in June.
This comes after a delegation of MEPs that visited Malta last month on a rule of law fact-finding mission asked the Prime Minister for full list of Maltese passport-buyers, only to be rejected on the grounds that giving them that list would be illegal
It’s also worth noting that by December 2017, there was €360 million in the National Development and Social Fund, where a majority of the IIP’s profits go.
A Maltese passport can be bought for about €650,000 alongside a five-year investment into Maltese property or bond.
Want to be an investigative journalist for a day?
The government has printed the 2,182 names of naturalised citizens for 2016. If you’ve got some spare time and want to be a part of our investigation, here’s how you can help
- Go to the latest issue of the Government Gazzette
- Go to page 14,018
- Select some names and Google them
- Email us at [email protected] if you think you might have found someone worth looking into