Malta is back in the news about its CBI program, and again, the news is not good. Melnikov Pavel Eduardovich, a Russian national arrested in Finland, allegedly the head of a crime syndicate, has held citizenship in Malta by virtue of a CBI passport he purchased in 2016. The principal activity of his organization appears to be the purchase of high-end real estate in Scandinavia.
He was using his passport, which gives him ready visa-free access to the countries of the European Union, to reportedly operate a €10m money laundering ring. A large number of Russian organized crime figures have allegedly bought their way into the EU, using the Maltese CBI program, which has come under serious scrutiny in recent years, as Opposition leaders and local whistle blowers in Malta have accused the government of accepting applicants whose background and activities should have made them unsuitable for passports that give them access to the Schengen Zone.