Minister will check in on probe into ‘passport professor’

Minister will check in on probe into ‘passport professor’

The Inspectorate of Education will be checking in on the RUG’s investigation into ‘passport professor’ Dimitry Kochenov and his role as adviser in the controversial sale of EU passports.

By Rob Siebelink / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

The NOS reported this based education minister Van Engelshoven’s answers to the Lower House after a Nieuwsuur report in late September.

According to Nieuwsuur, professor and lawyer Dimitry Kochenov was paid to advise the Maltese government, which makes a lot of money off the sales of passports. Rich Russian, Chinese, and Arab people buy the EU passports for large amounts (900,000 euros each).

EU citizen

People use the Maltese passports to become EU citizens, allowing them free travel and business throughout the European Union. The General Intelligence and Security Service in the Netherlands is worried about the trade in passports, since it would make it easier for spies to get around, for example.

Minister Van Engelshoven said as much in her letter to the Lower House: ‘This programme would allow malicious people (including criminals and intelligence officers) to travel freely within the EU. This could affect national security, especially since the Netherlands is a target for espionage and unwanted influences from other countries.’

Integrity code

After the Nieuwsuur report, the RUG decided to investigate Kochenov’s business with the Maltese government. This investigation has yet to start. Van Engelshoven wrote to the Lower House that the investigation should reveal whether Kochenov obeyed the integrity code set out for academics, and whether there is (the appearance of) a conflict of interest.

The investigation must be independent, the minister says, and she would like to stay updated on its objective and conclusions. ‘I’ve asked the Inspectorate of Education to evaluate the investigation’s findings of the extracurricular activities and potential conflict of interest and to advise me on them’, the NOS quoted the minister.

Nederlands

28 October 2019 | 28-10-2019, 15:06