On 22 April, the EU Observer reported on an investigation into the sale of passports in Malta. It said that Chinese, Russian, and Saudi millionaires bought EU passports from Malta using loopholes according to leaked documents from Henley & Partners, a London-based firm which designed Malta’s golden-passport industry. Many passport-buyers spent less than 3 weeks in Malta and left letterbox-type residences empty most of the time, the leaked files. The investigation is into the sale of passports by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, The Guardian, Dossier Centre and five independent media organisations in Malta: Lovin Malta, Malta Today, The Malta Independent, the Times of Malta and The Shift. The most prominent country of origin is Russia, which comprises approximately 37% of all applicants for Maltese citizenship, irrespective of their success in doing so. Second is China with approximately 12% of all applicants, followed by Saudi Arabia at roughly 10% of all applicants. A considerable number of applicants for Maltese citizenship already held multiple passports at the time of applying and many held citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis. It points out that obtaining dual citizenship with Malta is illegal for citizens of some countries. This is certainly the case with Saudi Arabia, for instance. Saudi citizens must seek discretionary royal permission to obtain an additional passport elsewhere.
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