Blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia accuses Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of being involved in the Panama Papers scandal. Non-public documents are said to show that the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat, is the ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant Inc, one out of three Panamanian companies acquired by the Maltese law firm Nexia BT through the services of Mossack Fonseca. The other two Panama-based companies, Hearnville Inc and Tillgate Inc, belonged to Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. Through Egrant Inc, Michelle Muscat is said to have received $1 million from the daughter of Azerbaijan’s President. The prime minister has denounced all accusations and announced to sue Galizia for libel.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group, commented on the allegations regarding the wife of Maltese Prime Minister being the ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant Inc registered in Panama:
“If Malta is serious about getting rid of its image of the complicity of dirty money, it has to immediately put its own house in order. If the allegations regarding the Prime Minister’s wife turn out to be true, this would be another serious blow in Malta’s fight against corruption and money laundering after the involvement of the Energy Minister and the Prime Minister Chief of Staff in the Panama Papers.
The accusations regarding the Prime Minister’s wife have to be properly investigated. Given the poor track record of financial supervisors and anti-money laundering regulators in Malta, we understand that Mrs Caruana Galizia does not trust the Maltese institutions. Therefore, we suggest to Mrs Caruana Galizia as well as Prime Minister Muscat to hand all relevant documents to the PANA inquiry committee of the European Parliament.
To regain credibility, the presidency-in-office of the Council must support the creation of public register on beneficial owners of companies and trusts in the current negotiations of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.”
The whole story can be read at Malta Independent: