Former Nationalist Minister Furious After Henley & Partners 2012 Foreword
Former Nationalist minister says Henley & Partners, concessionaires of Malta’s Individual Investor Programme, have reproduced his 2012 foreword for the latest edition of their citizenship manual
Henley & Partners’ decision to include a four-year-old foreword by former Nationalist minister Tonio Fenech in their latest edition of the Global Residence and Citizenship Handbook, which was presented during a London conference earlier this month, has left the MP fuming.
When contacted over his ‘latest’ contribution, Fenech, a member of the Nationalist opposition, expressed surprise and denied ever sending in a write-up for the sixth edition of the Henley handbook.
In fact, Fenech later confirmed that Henley & Partners, concessionaires of Malta’s Individual Investor Programme, had reproduced the foreword that he had written four years ago, “as a complimentary gesture” when H&P had helped Malta in developing a high net worth scheme.
“That foreword was written for one specific edition and it is highly unacceptable for them to reproduce it in that manner, totally out of context,” an irate Fenech told MaltaToday. “It is highly unprofessional and the least they could have done was to ask me first.”
Albeit PN exponents are directly involved in legal firms which are IIP agents, the Nationalist opposition has been a vociferous opponent of the citizenship scheme. Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has even stated that, if elected, he would withdraw citizenships granted through the IIP – although he later changed tack and said that he would review the scheme and change its “lack of principled approach”.
In questions sent to the Henley chairman, Christian Kalin confirmed that Fenech’s foreword “was in all the editions of the handbook”, adding that he “could not understand the fuss” when it was pointed out that the PN had come out strongly against the sale of citizenship.
Asked whether Henley & Partners had reached out to the PN, Kalin said: “Not recently, but we think it might actually be a good idea to do so. We do not have any bad relationship with the Nationalist Party. Henley & Partners is not a political outfit, we work with governments, not with political parties. Thus we are always open to dialogue with representatives of the entire political spectrum.”
Kalin confirmed that Fenech had written the foreword when he was still a minister, “in acknowledgement also of the good work we provided to the then PN government to assist them with the then residence programme at that time”. “The foreword is still relevant today so it was continued in subsequent editions,” he added.
Kalin confirmed that Fenech’s contribution had not been a paid one, insisting that the firm had never “paid anyone anything for a foreword or article for any of our publications. Individuals are invited and they contribute on the basis of merit”.
In the e-mailed reply, Kalin went on to add: “Thank you for covering our Global Residence and Citizenship handbook. I would just urge you not to create an elephant out of a non-existent fly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a former minister writing a foreword, except perhaps for some politically extreme minded people.”