The Republic of Malta, already reeling over multiple corruption scandals involving the identification of officials in the Panama Papers, Pilatus Bank, and the country's Citizenship by Investment (CBP) program, now has yet another scandal exposed, which should be of serious concern to an already alert and unhappy European Union. Thousands of Visas reportedly issued to African nationals were obtained after bribes and other illegal compensations were paid to government officials.
The investigation centres around Visas issued to nationals of Algeria, both to "students' allegedly coming to Malta to learn English, and Visitor Visas. Records reported in Maltese media indicate that a large number of the Algerian arrivals failed to show up for their hotel reservations; this means that these individuals went right on into the other Schengen Zone countries, and did not even stay over one day in Malta, a violation of the terms of their Visas. Many of these arrivals, who were no-shows at the hotels, came to Malta during the holiday period, which raises suspicions that Maltese Visas have become a favoured method of entering the other EU countries, illegally.
Also, Algerian arrivals far exceeded departures back home, confirming that these individuals did not remain in Malta, which was the purported sole reason for their arrival via Visa.
An additional indicator of fraudulent activity was the immediate approval by the Maltese Government of an Algerian Consulate, in record time, notwithstanding that there was no apparent need for one, nor was any evidence supplied in support of such a facility. A relative of a senior Maltese government official was named Consul-General, notwithstanding that he has no diplomatic experience or training. Bribes end up in the pockets of Malta's senior officials, in a country that is looking less and less like it belongs in the European Union, and more like the corrupt Banana Republic.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant