More than three thousand foreigners received a Malta passport in 2019 in exchange for investments, among them, judging by their names, about 300 citizens of Russia and the countries of the post-Soviet space. The country’s authorities have published a list of participants in the corresponding program, it was studied by the RBC edition.
The republic does not disclose the second citizenship of passport buyers, so the estimate is approximate. The fact of citizenship was confirmed by the founder and co-owner of the manufacturer of roofing materials “Technonikol” Sergey Kolesnikov. He explained the investment by the presence of enterprises in four EU countries.
The list also includes the full namesake of a number of Russian businessmen. These are the founder of the Petrovich chain of stores for repairs, Andrian Melnikov, co-owner of DataPro Alexey Bogdanchikov, one of the founders of the LSR developer Georgy Vedernikov and shareholder of the Vertical company Georgy Chumburidze.
In previous years, among the recipients of Maltese passports, there were also many full namesakes of wealthy Russians. Among them are the founder of “Yandex” Arkady Volozh and his relatives, the owner of O1 Group Boris Mints and his family members, the co-owner of ICT Holding Alexander Nesis.
The Golden Passport program has been operating in Malta since the end of 2013. For citizenship, it was enough to contribute 650 thousand euros to the national investment fund, buy real estate in the amount of 350 thousand euros or rent it for at least five years at a rate of 16 thousand euros. There was also the option of investing 150 thousand euros in government securities.
In May 2020, the republic claimed that during this time the idea brought the country 1.4 billion euros. However, in October 2020, conditions had to be tightened. Applicants will not only be subject to rigorous legal scrutiny, but will also require tax residency status for a period of one to three years.
Malta took such steps after the European Commission officially notified the country about the contradiction of the program of “golden passports” with the legal norms of the European Union. Cyprus, after a series of scandals with a similar program, suspended it altogether, and also annulled a number of decisions on citizenship.