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Malta's premier donates millions to charity from contentious scheme

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Valletta (dpa) - Malta‘s prime minister has sparked controversy after donating 5 million euros (6.2 million dollars) from the country‘s highly contentious passport sale scheme to a charity fundraiser. 

During a phone-in on popular television programme Xarabank on Good Friday, Joseph Muscat said he would be donating the money to cancer charity Puttinu Cares through the so-called Individual Investor Programme scheme.

The Easter donation from the prime minister was more than treble the amount raised by the public.

While many people thanked the government and Muscat for the donation, the reaction on Saturday was not universally positive.

Former opposition leader Beppe Fenech Adami lambasted Muscat in a Facebook post for sending "the message that in order to heal cancer patients we need to sell Maltese passports to criminals and the corrupt."

"This was simply transferring money (dirty money at that) from government to someone doing the government‘s job," blogger Andrew Borg Cardona alleged.

The scheme, which costs around 1.1 million euros, facilitates the sale of Maltese citizenship to wealthy individuals, who either buy or rent a property in Malta and invest a minimum to obtain a passport, allowing them free movement in the European Union. 

The scheme has been criticized by the European Parliament and Transparency International, among others, and has been linked to allegations of kickbacks involving the prime minister‘s chief of staff, Keith Schembri.


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"Malta" is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea that lies south of the island of Sicily, Italy. The country is an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Għawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited.
"Malta" (), officially the "Republic of Malta" (), is a Southern European country and consists of an archipelago situated centrally in the Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km east of Tunisia, with the Strait
__NOTOC__Qormi by night, as seen from Marsa."Qormi" or "Città Pinto" ( ) is a city in Malta with a population of 16,576 (as of November 2005), which makes it the third largest locality in Malta. The town is located southwest of Valletta, in the
"Cospicua" () is a double-fortified harbour city on the Mediterranean island of Malta. It is the largest of the Three Cities. It was also given a title as "Citta" Cottonera", but erroneously the title is now used to define the whole region. It is
"Birkirkara" or "B"Kara" is a city of 21,775 inhabitants (as of November 2005) in central Malta. It is the largest and most populous city on the island and consists of four autonomous parishes: St Helen, St Joseph, Our Lady of the Carmel and St Mary.
"Tarxien" (or "Ħal Tarxien") is a small village found in the southern part of Malta.tymolog"Tarxien" is a small village in the south east of Malta. The etymology of the village may be a corruption of one of two words: "Tirix", meaning a large


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