Built into Frankfurter Allgemeine’s headline : “Malta is a magnet for the Mafia”

Published: November 18, 2013 at 6:15pm

Frankfurter Allgemeine_1

This article was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, one of Germany’s most influential newspapers, last Thursday.

I reproduce it here in idiomatic translation.


The sale of citizenship to well-paying foreigners angers many Maltese. Consulting firm will examine customers for possible criminal background.

The sale of citizenship to foreigners has turned many Maltese against their government. Readers have complained in comments on the websites of the local press, saying that Malta is prostituting itself mainly for businessmen from Russia, which could make the island a magnet for the Mafia.

This will certainly affect the government. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Finance Minister Tonio Fenech (they mean Edward Scicluna) have engaged the consulting firm Henley & Partners, which brokers real estate as well as residence and citizenship for their customers, to check those customers for possible criminal backgrounds while also processing their applications.

The bill passed on the third and final reading in the Maltese parliament last Tuesday in Valletta, by 37 votes to 30, making it lawful to offer Maltese nationality to foreigners for 650,000 euros. The applicant’s wife and children under 18 will pay 25,000 euros.

Government expects up to 300 applicants a year

The law is intended to stimulate the economy and attract wealthy foreigners to the island. Prime Minister Muscat estimated that the government will take 30 million euros in the first year, selling Maltese nationality to about 45 people. He then expects 200 to 300 applications per year.

The Opposition had criticized the project – and will want to reverse it. The Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, who is of the Nationalist Party (PN ), which was replaced in the March elections after 15 years in power by the Social Democrats, spoke on Wednesday of a “black day for democracy” in Malta.

Busuttil accused the government of having bulldozed the law through parliament. The PN says it may seek a referendum to abrogate this law. Otherwise they will repeal it after the next election, Busuttil said.

8 Comments Comment

  1. Antoine Vella says:

    Contrary to what government propaganda desperately wants us to believe, opposition to this scheme by the PN and civil society is not only not damaging Malta but is the only positive feature in these media reports.

    It’s the one thing that saves us from absolute shame.

  2. Last Post says:

    Jirreferu għalihom bħala Soċjalisti Demokratiċi! Għandek ċans! Anke Hitler u Mussolini kellhom doża qawwija ta’ Soċjaliżmu fir-retorika tagħhom, imma l-element ewlieni tas-soċjaliżmu tagħhom kien id-dittatorjat – mhux tal-proletarjat imma tal-elite fit-tmexxija u l-bażużli tagħhom.

    Id-demokrazija fis-socjaliżmu demokratiku tal-Partit Laburista minn Mintoff l’hawn kienu u għadhom jilgħabu biha skond kif jaqbel lilhom u l-inkompetenza tagħhom u tal-bażzużli tagħhom.

    Minn daqshekk, għall-pożi u r-retorika elettorali ma jirbħilhom ħadd. Tgħid għad xi darba l-poplu tagħna jinza’ l-għamad tal-preġudizzju politiku u jagħraf min tassew mexxa lil Malta ‘l quddiem fid-dinja moderna ta’ wara l-gwerra?

  3. It all stinks says:

    It is a small consolation that at least this newspaper acknowledged that many Maltese are against this move.

  4. dimartedi says:

    You will not believe what a colleague said yesterday while he overheard me and another colleague discuss the international press on the subject.

    He said : – ‘Do not believe what the international press writes, the articles were all sent to them by Simon Busuttil’

    And he was serious.

  5. tinnat says:

    The choice of photo is lovely, reminiscent of photos used by the media to make suspected criminals look as bad as they can.

  6. Tabatha White says:

    A group of Italians have started a website called Mafia Leaks on the same principle as Wiki Leaks:


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