Rule of law lobby group Repubblika has asked the Standards Commissioner to investigate the use of the Auberge de Castille, and the appearance of parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli, in a promotional video produced by a law firm whose licence to sell passports to foreign investors was recently suspended.

In a letter to the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life George Hyzler, Repubblika argues that the use of the Prime Minister's office in the promotional footage could represent a misuse of public resources as it created the impression that the the firm - Chetcuti Cauci Advisors Ltd - "was being given advantages by the authorities over its competitors". 

Repubblika also says that the appearance of Ms Farrugia Portelli was "designed to create the impression that there exists a close link between Chetcuti Cauchi and the Maltese political class" and that this bond "would lead to advantages for Chetcuti Cauchi's clients that other firms do not enjoy". 

Chetcuti Cauchi Advisors Ltd had its rights to act as agents under the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) suspended earlier this week after French journalists filmed a Maltese agent describing his friendship with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Ms Farrugia Portelli.

Another agent is caught on camera telling the French TV journalist that passport buyers who are originally turned down can get a second chance if ministers "turn a blind eye".

Both the Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary have said their only relationships with the agent were as childhood acquaintances.

In a statement, the government said "any impression that any agent enjoys a special treatment is completely misleading". 

The promotional footage to which Repubblika have objected - shot last year - is filmed throughout Castille and is introduced by Ms Farrugia Portelli, who discusses the benefits of the IIP.

It also features IIP CEO Jonathan Cardona and Malta Residency Visa Agency CEO Roderick Cutajar. The firm's managing partner Jean Phillip Chetcuti appears in a segment filmed inside the Cabinet meeting room. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us