Speaking to IMI in Davos last week, CEO of the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency, the entity charged with managing Malta’s citizenship by investment program, the MIIP, said he was, overall, “quite happy” with how his program was portrayed in the European Commission’s report on the investment migration industry.
Watch the full interview by clicking the YouTube video above.
“It was not easy for the Commission to write such a report,”
Cardona commented that he was glad to see the program he manages
“[…] I think it becomes quite evident that the Malta program is the most rigorous one, our due diligence the most proper one. We are also happy that it identifies us as the most transparent program.”
The MIIP’s chief executive expressed an intention to work together with the Commission to introduce common industry standards and oversight.
“Now, we await the Commission’s kickstarting the process of establishing an expert group so that we can continue to improve the standards of this industry. I think it’s important to implement regulation and standardization, especially in due diligence,” he added.
Difficult for EC to distinguish between facts and baseless allegations
European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova, the chief sponsor of the report and a declared skeptic of the industry on philosophical grounds, has previously visited Malta and met Cardona’s team to learn about the operational side of the MIIP. Questioned as to the extent to which the Commission had taken into account the information provided during such fact-finding missions, Cardona noted that the EC appeared to have listened but that accurately reporting on the industry would nonetheless have presented many challenges to the authors due to the difficulty of distinguishing between truth and hearsay.
“I think they have listened to a lot of the information we have given them. One has to understand that this is a new industry for them and it’s not an easy one to understand, especially because there is a lot of misinformation going around. And for them to really understand what is true, what are the facts, and what is only hearsay and sometimes baseless allegations, that was not easy for them,” said Cardona, adding that he gave the EC credit for having been able to grasp, “to a good extent”, how the industry and his program works.
The MIIP-boss also stressed the importance of dialogue between the industry and European regulators.
“Ultimately,” said Cardona, “this is an industry where thousands of people are employed. The livelihood of many families is at stake here, so let’s work together and ensure that we have the right approach in place.”