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This is part seven of a broader investigation. Click to read: part one | explainer | part two | part three | part four | part five | part six

In spite of the fact that former immigration police inspector Frankie Sammut was involved in a bitter legal spat with police commissioner Angelo Gafa’ over the former’s previous involvement with a passport-selling company, Sammut was given a promotion to superintendent while also working with real estate agency RE/MAX Malta, this website can confirm. The company, IWS Global Ltd, is partially owned by disgraced former economy minister Chris Cardona.

Given that Sammut abruptly stopped attending sittings from the court case which he initiated against Gafa’, it is being assumed that the legal spat – which originated from Gafa’s decision to restrict police officers from providing legal services – is no longer ongoing. The police force has totally refused to respond to questions about Sammut’s multiple, conflicting professional interests in spite of a constant stream of reminders since October of last year. The police commissioner is refusing to state why he is not answering this website’s questions.

Circled in red: newly minted police superintendent Frankie Sammut stands among his colleagues at the promotions ceremony held at the Police Headquarters in Floriana on 28 February, 2024. Photo: Malta Police Force

Three days ago – exactly two days before the police force’s promotions ceremony was held in its headquarters in Floriana – Sammut publicly announced that he is RE/MAX’s newest associate and that his followers should not hesitate to contact him should they be interested in buying or selling property.

A screenshot from Frankie Sammut’s post announcing his latest career decision.

Prior our last update – published on 22 February – Sammut was listed as the head of legal for IWS Global Ltd, Cardona’s immigration services company which he co-owns with his business partner, Matthias Vidergold. Cardona had taken over half the company’s shares in 31 August 2023.

Before the disgraced minister’s involvement, the company, which was originally registered in 2014, had failed to show any signs of economic activity for over six years, with its latest audited accounts from 2020 indicating a negligible amount of activity. Within just three years, the company suddenly transformed into a sprawling business, selling citizenship services from its offices in Malta, the United Arab Emirates, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis.

The company offers a wide range of immigration and cheap labour employment services, including the facilitation of golden passport acquisitions, a practice that has landed Malta in hot water with the European Union. Through additional investigative work, this website also uncovered a subsidiary company – IWS Fleet Ltd – which was established “to operate as a courier fleet owner providing food delivery services by any means in Malta”, according to the memorandum and articles of association available on the Malta Business Registry.

Following this website’s first article about IWS Global, which was published in October of last year, IWS’ website was temporarily shut down before this website was informed that it had come back online earlier in February. Sammut’s name was no longer listed as the head of legal when the website came back online.

In comments given to this website, the Chamber of Advocates and aditus foundation had both pointed towards Sammut’s glaring conflict of interest given that he was previously serving as an immigration police inspector and actively pursuing fake passport cases while also selling golden passports to wealthy individuals applying through Malta’s maligned golden passports scheme.

Now, the situation seems to be repeating itself, with the exception that this time, Sammut has been promoted to superintendent while also seemingly being given free rein to dabble in real estate. The police force has refused to answer questions about both Sammut’s former employment with IWS Global as well as his latest foray into real estate.

According to court documents submitted in Sammut’s abandoned case against the police commissioner, by November 2020, there were at least 33 other police officers who were doing part-time work in the real estate industry, although it is not specified in what capacity said police officers were also working in the property business.

While this does indicate that Sammut is not in breach of any specific rules within the corps by working in real estate, ethical concerns nonetheless remain since real estate agents are ultimately involved in an industry that is intimately tied with the sale of golden passports, which was Sammut’s former line of work prior his engagement with RE/MAX Malta.

Questions were also sent to RE/MAX Malta to determine whether the company was aware of the fact that Sammut’s prior arrangement was described as a conflict of interest by the Chamber of Advocates – the legal profession’s official representative body – and whether RE/MAX Malta has any concerns about the fact that the police commissioner had also flagged this same “flagrant” conflict of interest in court.

RE/MAX Malta did not acknowledge this website’s questions, indicating a refusal to respond.

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