Malta revoked citizenship to Russian national
VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese government announced that it has started the process to revoke the Maltese citizenship to a Russian national following a decision by the government of the United States to add 13 individuals and 21 entities to its sanction list. One of the 13 individuals is Evgeniya Vladimirovna Bernova who holds Maltese citizenship and has connections to the Russian Intelligence services.
The Ministry for Home Affairs stated that “this is being done in accordance with the Maltese Citizenship Act and the respective Subsidiary Legislation, as these provide that the responsible minister may deprive persons who have been registered or naturalised with Maltese citizenship in those circumstances established by the same legal provisions.”
Bernova is linked to Malberg Ltd, one of the companies on the sanctions list, through her shareholding in Djeco Group Holding Ltd. The United States government said Bernova is an associate of the Serniya network and operates Malberg Ltd through a multinational web of shell companies. “Malberg has worked to deceptively acquire dual-use equipment on behalf of Russian end-users,” the statement said.
Bernovàs network includes Malberg’s Director, Nikita Aleksandrovich Sobolev, UK-based Djeco Group LP, Malta-based Djeco Group Holding Ltd, Malta-based Maltarent Ltd, and France-based SCI Griber. In addition, Moscow-based Sernia-Film Co Ltd, where Bernova has served as a director, has facilitated the export of equipment by Malberg to intended government users in Russia. Djeco Group Holding Ltd and Maltarent Ltd were also placed on the US sanctions list.
Sobolev, who serves as a director of the Malta-based firm and is a Maltese resident, was also added to the US sanctions.
The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control described the sanctioned individuals as “operators in the Russian technology sector” that helped Russia illicitly procure dual-use equipment and technology for its defence sector.
“Russia not only continues to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine with its unprovoked aggression but also has escalated its attacks striking civilians and population centers,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “We will continue to target Putin’s war machine with sanctions from every angle, until this senseless war of choice is over.”
The European Commission is urging the Maltese to withdraw Maltese citizenship acquired by Russian and Belarussian nationals who bought EU citizenship through the golden passport scheme. Last month, Malta gave into international and national pressure and suspended the golden passports scheme for Russian and Belarusian applicants.