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Investigation into additional activities of UG professor of European Constitutional Law and Citizenship concluded

08 June 2020

The investigation into the additional activities of Prof. Kochenov, which was initiated by the Board of the University of Groningen in November 2019, has been finalized. The investigators have concluded that the professor of European Constitutional Law and Citizenship was not involved in the alleged ‘Maltese passport trade’. However, Kochenov, his manager and the Faculty Board have failed to comply with the approval procedure for additional activities set out in the applicable regulations. The Board will issue a warning to Kochenov and improve its internal procedure for reporting additional activities.

In September 2019, it was suggested in the media that Prof. Kochenov, professor of European Constitutional Law and Citizenship at the Faculty of Law, was involved in the alleged passport trade on Malta. These media reports resulted in questions in Parliament addressed to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, which in turn led the Board of the University to initiate an independent external investigation into the professor’s additional activities. This investigation was conducted by the research bureau Berenschot, independently led by H.J. Van Keulen.

The main conclusions as concerns Prof. Kochenov were as follows:

  • According to the investigators, Prof. Kochenov was not involved in any passport trade: he did not issue advice on individual cases and was not involved in the question whether individuals qualified for Maltese passports. His advice concerned components of the Malta Individual Investor Programme, partly in relation to EU regulations in the field of citizenship.
  • The investigators have not found indications that Kochenov’s academic independence and objectivity were affected as a result of payments made to him or for any other reasons.
  • In addition, no mention of Prof. Kochenov has been found in the Paradise Papers. The company on whose board he sat was listed, for the simple reason that all Maltese companies are listed in these papers.

In addition to these conclusions, the investigators note that Prof. Kochenov and his manager have failed to comply with the approval procedure for additional activities set out in the applicable regulations, and the Faculty Board was hesitant to interfere. The investigation report shows that several aspects of additional activities performed by academic staff require clarification.

The Board of the University will take the appropriate measures. Prof. Kochenov will be issued a warning, and the internal information provision and procedures for requesting permission to perform additional activities and receive additional income will be improved.

Last modified:08 June 2020 7.12 p.m.
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