An undercover sting operation by French TV programme Enquête Exclusive has exposed an unnamed Maltese lawyer boasting about his personal relationship with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and other members of his Cabinet.
The journalist visited the Valletta offices of Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates posing as the legal representative of African clients who were interested in purchasing Maltese citizenship through the Individual Investor Programme.
Unaware that he was being filmed, a representative of the law firm, whose face was blurred, told the journalist that he is well connected to the corridors of power. He said he is childhood friends with Muscat himself, that his father used to drive them to school and that they used to invite each other to their birthday parties.
“We understand each other,” he said.
He added that Justice Minister Owen Bonnici used to work at his law firm and that parliamentary secretary for reforms and citizenship Julia Farrugia Portelli is a childhood friend of his wife.
At one point in the conversation, the journalist tested the lawyer by warning that one of his ‘clients’ interested in purchasing Maltese citizenship may have a criminal record.
The lawyer responded that the authorities can reject applications without giving a reason but they can also “close an eye” and that he could provide them with further information that would benefit the client.