Citizenship for Sale? Why money can’t always buy Citizenship

Wealth and Citizenship
High net worth individuals continue to weigh their global citizenship options in ensuring a better future for their families or to expand their business possibilities. This is a notion visible in the beaming faces of the many families Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates helps in attaining their Maltese citizenship, says Chetcuti Cauchi senior partner Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, a notable expert on the Maltese Individual Investor Program, the IIP:
It is a misconception that Malta’s Individual Investor Programme (‘MIIP’) admits all applicants. Over the past six years, 1 out of 4 applicants have been rejected.

Why are applications rejected?

Speaking to the Investment Migration Insider, Dr Chetcuti explains why the IIP has unusually high rejection rates and expands on five possible reasons for rejection of a Citizenship Application.

Are rejected applicants criminals?

Contrary to common perception, applicants who fail the due diligence of the MIIP are not criminals.
This emerges from Article 5 of the Individual Investor Programme of the Republic of Malta Regulations, 2013 which sets the eligibility criteria and specifically excludes the most obvious grounds for ineligibility including having a criminal record, appearing before the International Criminal Court, the ICC, or being listed on the INTERPOL.
Persons with a criminal record or who are the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings are not even eligible to apply and therefore are not able to undergo and fail the due diligence process.
No persons with a criminal background have ever applied under the MIIP. This is confirmed by a 2019 Report published by the Maltese Citizenship Regulator, the ORiip, which investigated unproved allegations made by a French journalist that Maltese citizenship was open to persons with a criminal background. In this report, the IIP Regulator confirmed that no IIP applications have been submitted to the Agency for Maltese Citizenship nor have any rejections been reversed.

So why else are IIP applicants rejected?

The agency responsible for admitting new Maltese citizens, the MIIPA, Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency, employs a four-tier due diligence which filters out those global citizens not deemed worthy. If criminals can’t apply, why else are applications rejected?
From experience, Dr Chetcuti writes, there are alternative benign reasons for rejection, other than having a criminal background. Being in possession of a criminal record, or even being the subject of criminal proceedings, renders one ineligible to apply for a Maltese passport. The MIIPA also strongly considers the reputational profile of the applicant and their family, especially since successful business families are often subject to bad press. In situations like these, Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates’s immigration lawyers take it upon themselves to assess, disclose and explain these issues.

Source: Chetcuti Cauchi on Misconceptions on IIP Rejections