The cash-for-passport scheme keeps tarnishing the country’s reputation, Partit Nazzjonalista said on Saturday in a statement.
Reacting to the news that another new ‘Maltese’ citizen has been charged with fraud in the United States and Israel, in a statement signed by Opposition leader Adrian Delia and Opposition spokesperson for citizenship Karol Aquilina.
Partit Nazzjonalista highlighted that it was against the scheme from the very beginning, reiterating its call for the scheme to be suspended.
An Israeli national himself, Anatoly Hurgin acquired Maltese citizenship for himself and his family in 2016. Hurgin is a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces and runs a company, Ability Inc. which specializes in “phone hacking and cutting edge surveillance technology.”
Slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had written about Hurgin when he acquired Maltese citizenship. Three months before he was given citizenship, he was sued for damages for about €5.5 million in Israel.
In September, Israeli authorities arrested a number employees from his company on suspicion of committing “offences of fraud, smuggling and money laundering on significant scale”.
The Israeli Defence Ministry had been investigating the firm for breaking international law.
The Shift News reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Hurgin, Ability Inc. and the Chief Technology Officer Alexander Vladimir Aurovsky with five violations of US federal law for defrauding the shareholders of a Florida-based company. The shareholders of the Florida company lost some €53.8 million.
Partit Nazzjonalista noted that this was the fifth Maltese citizen who is facing serious charges. Adding that it brought the government’s gloating over the four-tier due diligence system to shame.
PN also referred to IIP agents working at Chetcuti Cauchi who are now subject of a police investigation after they were caught on camera boasting of their ties to the government. After the news programme on Malta was aired, the agents had their licences suspended.