Nieuwsuur
Nieuwsuur

Vragen aan hoogleraar Dimitry Kochenov:

Resignation

- Why has your contract been terminated?
- When was it decided your contract would be terminated?
- Are you still working for the RUG?
- Per which date does your contract with the RUG end?

Times of Malta

- In February 2014 you wrote an op-ed article for the Times of Malta. It was published several days after you signed an agreement with mr. Schembri about your consultation work for the Maltese government. Why did you only mention your position as a professor at the RUG, and not your activities for the Maltese government?

QNI

- Who owns the data of the QNI?
- Who owns the website nationalityindex.com?
- Why are visitors of that website invited to 'improve their nationality'? What is the scientific interest of that?
- What is the interest of the RUG in this website?
- The Van Keulen inquiry concluded that the website at least has the appearance of a conflict of interest (tenminste de schijn van belangenverstrengeling). What is your take on that conclusion?
- Academic experts on scientifical integrity we consulted think that nationalityindex.com can be seen as a marketing tool for H&P. They also criticize the appearance of conflict of interest, and think because of that the scientifical value of the research is of lesser value. What is your take on that?
- Is (a part of) the data of the QNI used for the Passport Index of Henley & Partners?
- What are the underlying agreements or contracts between you / RUG / Christian Kälin / H&P?

Reactie Dimitry Kochenov

In reply to your questions I have only the following to say:

1. I have been offered a job, which is significantly superior to my RuG position, but before accepting it I accepted a visiting scholar position at the University of Oxford to co-convene a multidisciplinary seminar on Citizenship by Investment at the Centre for Migration, Policy and Society of Oxford School of Anthropology.

2. What the Times of Malta published is a populatized version of a well-known little article of mine, published before any contacts with the Maltese government as part of a 2013 European University Institute debate on the issue: https://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/29318 My professional scholarly position is crystal-clear and has never changed: selling citizenship is fully legal. I explained it further in a recent London School of Economics paper, which I invite you to read: https://www.lse.ac.uk/european-institute/Assets/Documents/LEQS-Discussion-Papers/LEQSPaper164.pdf

3. The QNI is a scholarly book published by Hart Publishing, Oxford: https://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/kalin-and-kochenovs-quality-of-nationality-index-9781509933235/ The full dataset is in public domain: https://data.mendeley.com/datasets/53zr7cfyrs/1 Anyone who so wishes is fully authorised to use it, as long as a full reference to the book is provided.

4. Concerning Van Keulen inquiry I can only repeat what I have already said in my naschrift to the Report (at p. 28): "Such investigations and Reports [...] are a threat to any University's reputation and a shame of our University community."

Vragen aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen:

Hoogleraar Dimitry Kochenov

- Per wanneer, welke datum, verricht de heer Kochenov geen werkzaamheden meer voor de RUG?
- Per wanneer, welke datum, wordt of is de arbeidsovereenkomst met de heer Kochenov ontbonden?

QNI

- Heeft u actie ondernomen om de schijn van belangenverstrengeling rond de website weg te nemen? Zo ja, wat dan? Zo nee, waarom niet?
- Is de onafhankelijkheid van de website en de QNI voldoende gewaarborgd, gezien het zeer specifieke belang van mede-onderzoeker Kälin, en de doorgeleiding van bezoekers van de site naar zijn bedrijf?
- Welk belang heeft uw universiteit bij deze website?
- Heeft u (uw instelling, medewerkers van uw instelling, rechtspersonen verbonden aan uw instelling) afspraken gemaakt, of overeenkomsten of contracten gesloten met de heer Kälin en/of Henley & Partners? Zo ja, welke, en zijn die nog van kracht?
- Ontvangt uw instelling, of aan uw instelling gelieerde rechtspersonen, op enige wijze inkomsten van Henley & Partners, of partijen betrokken bij de handel in paspoorten, of actief in die sector?
- Volgens critici is deze website een marketingtool en wekt u met uw bijdrage de indruk dat uw instelling de handel in paspoorten wil bevorderen. Kunt u daarop reageren?
- De heer Kälin en zijn bedrijf hebben een discutabele reputatie. Henley & Partners is betrokken bij corruptie. De woordvoerder van het bedrijf, die ook de PR doet voor uw QNI, stuurt juridische dreigbrieven naar journalisten die kritisch berichten over de activiteiten van Henley & Partners. Kälin overlegde persoonlijk met de toenmalige Maltese premier Muscat over juridische stappen tegen de (later vermoorde) Maltese journaliste Caruana Galizia. Ziet u morele bezwaren of dilemma's in uw samenwerking met Henley & Partners en de heer Kälin? Kunt u uw antwoord toelichten?

De Rijksuniversiteit Groningen heeft ondanks herhaalde verzoeken van Nieuwsuur geen van deze vragen willen beantwoorden.

Vragen aan Christian Kälin, Henley & Partners:

- Who owns the data of the QNI?
- Who owns the website nationalityindex.com?
- Why are visitors of that website invited to 'improve their nationality'? What is the scientific interest of that?
- What is the interest of the RUG in this website?
- The Van Keulen inquiry concluded that the website at least has the appearance of a conflict of interest (tenminste de schijn van belangenverstrengeling). See page 39. What is your take on that conclusion?
- Is (a part of) the open data of the QNI used for the Passport Index of Henley & Partners?
- What are the underlying agreements or contracts between you / RUG / Christian Kälin / H&P?
- Now that mr. Kochenov has left the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, will you proceed to do research for the university?
- What are your plans regarding the QNI and nationalityindex.com?

Reactie Christian Kälin, Henley & Partners:

The Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) is an academic study that analyses value of citizenship and nationality across a number of metrics. It was most recently published by Bloomsbury and the copyright of the 2020 edition is owned by Dr Kälin, professor Kochenov and contributing authors.

There is no legal or organizational linkage to the University of Gronigen. Dr Kälin and professor Kochenov are both noted leaders in the field of research into the legal and conceptual development of citizenship. Dr Kälin holds a doctorate from the University of Zurich focused on the constitutional law aspects of citizenship-by-investment and has published numerous well-regarded academic works on the subject, in addition to his 20 years of professional experience in the field.

Both authors are particularly proud of the contribution made by QNI to the study of citizenship and as a tool to educate the non-specialist audience. It is a well cited academic publication, its most recent edition was just published by Hart/Bloomsbury in the UK. It should be noted that the QNI is fundamentally separate to the Henley Passport Index.

If anything, the HPI study on visa free travel informs QNI and not the other way round. HPI is solely a list of destinations that a citizen of an individual country can travel to without applying for a visa. This data contributes to the multi-faceted, thorough evaluation of citizenship that is included in QNI.

Het onderzoek van Nieuwsuur is mede gebaseerd op dit artikel in de Guardian. Henley & Partners heeft gereageerd op het artikel.

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