Five family members of the extensive Qatari royal Al Thani dynasty were granted Maltese citizenship in 2018, The Shift News has found.
Mohamed Ahmed J. Al Thani, his wife Hanadi Al Thani and their children Jassim, Jude and Layana Al Thani were listed as having gained citizenship between January and December 2018, according to a list published in yesterday’s Government Gazette.
The comprehensive list includes names of individuals who have either gained Maltese citizenship as part of the Malta Individual Investor Programme – also referred to as cash-for-passports scheme – or through naturalisation. The list does not create a distinction between the two.
The relationship between the Al Thani dynasty and Malta is not a new one. In 2016, local media had reported that Qatari royal Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani had set up an aviation broker company in Malta called Monifa Wings Company Limited. Also in 2016, Banif Bank Portugal sold its stake in Banif Bank Malta to a private investment group chaired by Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani.
The Al Thani family are new additions to the ever-growing list of powerful international individuals who have gained Maltese citizenship over the past few years.
Earlier this year, as controversy continued to surround the IIP scheme, The Shift News reported that a fifth new Maltese citizen had been charged with criminal offences within a 12-month period. When asked about their reaction to such charges, Identity Malta had said they would not conduct a review of those who had been granted Maltese citizenship through the golden passports scheme, stressing that “a rigorous system” was already in place.
The golden passport scheme has been highly criticised by the EU as EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová said earlier this year that the European Commission did “not endorse this system”.