Henley & Partners: the presentation they are making to Russians even BEFORE the Maltese parliament has voted on the ‘sale of passports’ bill

Published: October 29, 2013 at 8:56am

You would think they would have the basic consideration, decency and respect of respecting democratic systems and at least make a show of waiting until the Maltese parliament has voted to approve the bill.

But no – these are people who have clearly decided, because of their experience with the Labour Party/government, that Malta’s systems and people in power are akin to those of a Caribbean island state and money-laundering destination, where people are poor, democracy is weak and corruption and abuse of power are high.

The PDF of the presentation they are giving to Russians about buying a Maltese passport is too heavy to upload here, so I have broken it up into frames.

Opposition spokesman Jason Azzopardi placed this presentation on the table of the House last night.

In brief translation, Henley is here emphasizing the fact that a Maltese passport gives visa-free travel to the US, something that Russians do not have – they require a visa.

Azzopardi told me after his speech in parliament last night:

“I want you to know that there is no question, in my mind and others, that this will cause the US Department of Homeland Security to cancel the visa-free rights for Maltese citizens.

We are speaking here of a commercial company, with a vested and considerable financial interest in selling Maltese passports, making decisions on who will buy those passports – and actually advertising them for sale to Russians as something which will give them visa-free access to the United States.

I hope you understand how serious this is. Malta has allowed a commercial company to sell visa-free access to the United States, to Russians and others, using the hard-won privilege of Maltese people to travel to the US visa-free, which took the former government years to negotiate and which was granted only a couple of years ago.

What Malta is doing now undermines the huge effort the US makes in managing access to the US, its strict control.”

On page 12 of the presentation, Henley & Partners is blatantly and abusively offering a ‘fast-track option’ to Russians as long as they pay Henley – not the Malta government – 50% over and above the usual fee. This, of course, is formalised corruption, and our government has made it possible by placing full control in Henley’s hands without any safeguards because, to quote verbatim the government consultant Jason Azzopardi spoke of in parliament yesterday, “the government is in a rush”.

It cannot be emphasised enough: Henley is offering fast-track processing of Maltese passports to Russians against a formalised bribe, even before the Maltese parliament has legislated.

In comments to this website, Jason Azzopardi said:

“Openly claiming special access to government officials for extra money may be standard in Russia, China, and some other countries, but it is shocking that such a claim is made in the heart of Europe, and that our government has made this possible and allows it.

It is equally shocking, in a European democracy, that a “fast track option” is being sold even before parliament has legislated. How irresponsible is this of Henley and those in the government who have approved this.”

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21 Comments Comment

  1. Ta'Sapienza says:

    Since I don’t understand Cyrillic, the only part I seem to grasp is the €7500 fee for due diligence also to be pocketed by Henley. Sounds like they’ll end up pocketing more than the Maltese exchequer in this deal.

  2. Ta'Sapienza says:

    Looks like we’ve upset the Russians with the adoption/ civil partnership business and about to upset the Americans with the sale of visa free passports.

    And that’s just after ‘standing up’ to the EU mandarins.

    Not bad for a week’s work. Shame they didn’t rub the visiting Chinese delegation the wrong way. It would have been a spectacular poker.

  3. HARRUBA says:

    What a disgrace, Malta has really been thrown to the dogs, literally.

  4. RF says:

    Strada Stretta stuff. Shame on them all.

    • Skuzani RF, bil kumment tieghek qed toffendi lill dawk il familji, haddiema u stabbilimenti li joqghodu jew jahdmu go Triq id-Dejqa.

      Jekk ghadek ma tafx, din it-triq ma ghadiex kif kienet 50 sena ilu.

      Kun prudenti fil kumment tieghek. Grazzi.

  5. J. Borg says:

    I find it incredible that we find ourselves being governed by people who either don’t have a brain cell between them, or are intent on turning Malta back into what it was under Mintoff.

    Its renewed ‘friendship’ with China, allowing the Chinese to use Malta as a back door into Europe, and now this extremely dangerous scheme targetted at Russian crooks and possibly also the Russian mafia suggests that we are heading for big trouble faster than we ever dreamed.

    Like all things, it takes a lot to build something and relatively little to destroy it.

  6. Nighthawk says:

    You would think an intrepid journalist like Kurt Sansone might think this was a ‘serious business’ and at least get the opinion of the US ambassador, and the EU commission.

  7. ciccio says:

    Let us take the case where Henley & Partners are selling a Maltese passport to a spouse, child, or relative, of someone who had just acquired a passport for euro 650,000. The price of such additional passport is only euro 25,000.

    Do Henley & Partners still get a quarter of a million in commission from the government and the buyer?

    It would be good to verify – with Labour, and prostitution, you never know.

    I can already see that sign on the window: “Maltese passports on sale here – from as little as euro 25,000.”

  8. V says:

    In the 90s a South American country promoted a similar system in South East Asia (Korea, Taiwan, etc.), at that time this country had also a waiver with the US.

    Needless to say that the waiver was suspended short after Asians went there to get a passport and just go to the USA.

    In diplomacy and international relations there are things you can offer but that you can not mention openly, you can not say as part of a promotional activity (selling your passports) that your passport do not require visa to travel to the USA.

    It shows you are being run by amateurs and immediately you became an unreliable state.

    Is the government so desperately in need of money?

    [Daphne – Actually I think the government is in desperate need of meeting its pre-electoral pledge to a few Azerbaijanis, Russians and Chinese who have given X in return for the promise of a passport.]

    • Lorry says:

      ” who have given X in return for the promise of a passport”

      Where “X” is the huge budget LP had at their disposal during the past electoral campaign

  9. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Yeah well, you heard the bit about the US cancelling the visa waiver programme here first.

  10. Overseas says:

    The PN should state that if the bill is passed then when it is once again in Government one of the 1st thing it will do will be to repeal the bill and also publish all those people who obtained citizenship under this bill.

    As each day goes by and the blatant arrogance of the current government is being highlighted by you, I am becoming more and more concerned that in 4 1/2 years time there will not be a democratic election. Based on the current government tactics a election may take place but it will not be democratic.

  11. Rumplestiltskin says:

    Mintoff changed the Maltese coat of arms to a childish drawing of a luzzu, prickly pears and farm implements (until sanity prevailed under the PN). With the passport-for-sale scheme it seems we will be going one step further and change the allegorical figure of Malta from one of a lady with flowing robes to that of a tart complete with fishnet stockings, miniskirt and see-through blouse. Instead of a shield she will have a Maltese passport in her hand.

  12. iz zagag says:

    Ta’ negozjant li jien qatt ma kont nasal biex inhallas 140 000 Euro commision fuq negozju ta’ 650 000 Euro.

    Sejrin lura bhal granc.

  13. Passe-Partout says:

    I have a niggling suspicion that this is all part of a diabolical scheme to get Malta turfed out of the EU for good. I just can’t decide who might want that to happen the most: the PM, or his puppet-master.

    I agree that it is a foregone conclusion that the US Dept. of Homeland Security will cancel the visa-free rights that were recently acquired by Maltese citizens as a result of this program and Henley’s marketing scheme.

    I have no doubt that Canada will do the same.

    The timing of all this is most unfortunate for Maltese businesses, given the status of the EU’s trade negotiations with Canada and the US. But that’s all right, isn’t it, as long as the Mizzis continue to develop business opportunities in Shanghai?

  14. Nana says:

    USA will take back from us the free visa we have to enter America. I was across the border and although I have an eu passport they asked me lots of question. Instead of moving ahead we are going gas down go hajt. Shame on you prime minister for doing this to our nation.

  15. H.P. Baxxter says:

    And yet the presentation presents the USA visa waiver as one of the selling points of the scheme.

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