15 Jan 2018

Rich Russians dominate list of new ‘Maltese’

Russians are taking advantage of Malta's Individual Investor Program, which sells Maltese -- and therefore EU citizenship -- for a fee of €650,000.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Rich Russians dominate list of new ‘Maltese’ - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:


An investigation by Malta Today found that about half of the 2,000 names on a recently-released list of naturalized citizens who bought their way to becoming Maltese were from Russia and Gulf states.

Among them are:

  • Alexey Alexandrovich Marey, the former CEO of Alfa Bank Russia, the country’s largest private bank by assets.
  • Dragan Solak, the executive chairman of the United Media Group – one of the largest telecommunications groups in the Balkans
  • Leonid Viktoryvich Korotkov, a member of Russia’s Communist Party and former governor of Amur Oblast in Siberia.
  • Dmitry Vladimirovich Semenikhin, a 21-year-old Russian writer and founder of Yacht Harbour media holding.
  • Roman Evgenievich Trushev, the chairman of Petroneft, a Russian-based oil and gas exploration and production company.
  • Saudi policy advisor Faisal Alibrahim.

Unlike Latvia or Cyprus, Malta grants full and immediate citizenship to investors complying with the requirements of the Individual Investor Program. They can, accordingly, use all EU citizenship rights, including international travel.

According to Politico, critics charge that the program undermines the concept of European citizenship, poses potential security risks and opens a backdoor for Russians seeking to escape sanctions in their own country. But a Yemeni woman said the cash-for-passport scheme saved her family from war, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, the government refuses to grant Maltese citizenship to stateless children born to migrant parents in Malta.

Details from the story:

  • Individuals obtaining citizenship by investment are not required to reside in Malta.
  • Although the government claims that the program is open to individuals with a spotless reputation only, the list includes some controversial individuals.
  • While the names of those who received a Maltese passport are published yearly, they are mixed with persons who received their citizenship on other grounds. The government claims that singling passport buyers out would be discriminatory.
  • Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has promoted the program in Dubai.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy