A French news programme highlighting Malta as a "paradise of corruption" has been taken offline.

The producers behind the episode of Enquête Exclusive (Exclusive Inquiry), Ligne de Front, told Times of Malta that they had removed the footage after “somebody in the programme” had started court proceedings against them.

They said they had to pull the episode, titled Malta, jewel of the Mediterranean and paradise of corruption, around three weeks ago. 

In the episode, a journalist for French TV channel M6 poses as a representative of African clients seeking a Maltese passport.

Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, from the Chetcuti Cauchi law firm, was filmed telling the would-be applicant about his familiarity with the Prime Minister, Justice Minister and parliamentary secretary in charges of the passport scheme. 

The lawyer told the applicant that while ministers could not provide any information about passport applicants, they could provide information more subtly, through gestures such as a "wink".  

A criminal court has since confirmed a decision to subject Dr Chetcuti to an inquiry. A review by the passport scheme regulator found nothing untoward in IIP applications filed by Dr Chetcuti's firm.  

Dr Chetcuti declined to comment about the matter when approached by Times of Malta. 

Raw footage from the same episode, showing Paceville mogul Luke Chetcuti discussing an alleged conversation he had with minister Chris Cardona about taking over a part of St George’s bay beach, was also leaked online.

The footage shows Mr Chetcuti telling an employee how he intended to take over part of the public beach for his hotel.

He can be heard saying that he had raised the issue with Dr Cardona, demanding part of the public beach. 

Dr Cardona denied the claims

Times of Malta was unable to contact Mr Chetcuti for comment at the time of writing.

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