A cash-for-passports lawyer caught on camera boasting of his friendship with senior government ministers and how problematic applications could be revisited, has insisted his company broke no law.
Chetcuti Cauchi Advisors Ltd managing partner Jean-Philippe Chetcuti denied taking any "illegal advantage for our clients" and appealed for regulators to make a swift investigation for the sake of his staff.
Chetcuti Cauchi's passport sale license was suspended last month after the broadcast of French investigative programme Enquête Exclusive. A full review of all files submitted by the law firm is under way and the Chamber of Advocates has referred the case to the Commission for the Administration of Justice.
In a lengthy statement, Dr Chetcuti said his company was "fully cooperating" with the authorities.
"We categorically deny all these allegations and insinuations," he said. "We always acted professionally, ethically and with utmost diligence, and we never broke the law."
In the broadcast, in which his identity is hidden, Dr Chetcuti boasts of going to school with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and how Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Julia Farrugia is a close friend of his wife.
However, in the statement, he denied promising to obtain "any illegal advantage for our clients" or and that he "ever spoke to politicians to illegally intervene on our clients’ behalf".
The French TV programme reported that Dr Chetcuti also told their undercover reporters that foreign investors whose passport applications are originally turned down can get a second chance if ministers "turn a blind eye".
However in his statement, he said no client that had ever had an application for a Maltese passport rejected had ever had it overturned.
And he said the company had never accepted clients with a criminal record.
Dr Chetcuti said he wanted to make a "heartfelt appeal" on behalf of the 140 employees of the firm that the investigation into his firm would be quick.
"We have no difficulty to open our doors to scrutiny by public institutions," he said.
"Let them do all the work that the law obliges them to do. It does not worry us. The only thing I ask is that the review of our license is carried out in the shortest time possible. The livelihoods of 140 families are at stake."