Malta’s investigators are looking into allegations of trading in influence central to the passport-selling scandal involving an IIP agent and his claims of ministerial connections.
Malta Today has reported that the police have initiated a fact-finding probe, requesting paperwork and case files on all the IIP clients of Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates. It is as yet unclear whether police will pursue a criminal investigation.
In undercover footage, lawyers at Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates name-dropped both Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and junior minister Julia Farrugia Portelli when meeting prospective clients.
In the video, the lawyer, believed to be Jean Phillippe Chetcuti, can be heard saying that authorities would “close an eye” to buyers with a criminal record. The law firm has since lost its license to operate in the IIP scheme.
It should be noted that since the recording was published, the government’s IIP agency, had passed on similar documents to the regulators investigating the case.
A separate investigation by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler is also underway into potential trading in influence.
Chetcuti Cauchi has denied ever using his political influence to obtain any sort of illegal advantage for his clients and said his firm has always acted professionally, ethically and with utmost diligence.
Beyond the video, the law firm, who was the first to get an IIP license, has used the iconic halls of Castille as a stellar background to a promotional video for their IIP services.
Farrugia Portelli, the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) CEO, and Malta Residency Visa Agency CEO starred.