The Malta Independent 25 June 2017, Sunday

Busuttil calls for national demonstration against ‘most corrupt government’

Helena Grech Friday, 21 April 2017, 10:34 Last update: about 3 months ago

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil said the PN will be holding a national demonstration against “the most corrupt government in history”, to be held on Sunday afternoon in Valletta.

In a press conference this morning, Dr Busuttil lashed out against a Prime Minister who allowed evidence mounting against him to be taken away before he ordered an inquiry into allegations that his wife was the owner of Egrant, a company that was opened in Panama together with two others owned by Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

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He also accused the police commissioner of “going to eat rabbit” while the whole of Malta was following the developments of the case, without as much as lifting a finger.

We are facing a political and constitutional crisis, having a Prime Minister under a magisterial inquiry.

Net, the PN media broadcast footage of the man identified to be the owner of Pilatus Bank, said to be an Iranian National named Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, together with another woman, said to be the risk manager also by blogger Caruana Galizia, leaving this evening with large bags.

Dr Busuttil said that the footage had caused “suspicion to rocket” about the Prime Minister.

He said that the footage, together with the fact that the Police Commissioner failed to seal the bank in the presence of a magistrate immediately after the allegations came out, and instead chose to remain at the restaurant where he was having dinner, and the obvious weakness of Malta’s institutions means that the Prime Minister must resign.  Pilatus bank issued a statement in the last hours, the morning after the footage had been seen by the country, to say that the owner had arrived in Malta and went straight to the bank, and that those were his personal bags. The Bank said it will comply with the magisterial inquiry, and claimed no wrong doing. It denied all allegations maid by Mrs Caruana Galizia.

The fact that he is now under a Magisterial inquiry, which is “without precedent”, is further proof that he must resign.

Dr Busuttil called upon the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, the Secret Service and the Attorney General to do their duty and investigate. He insisted that Malta’s institutions are evidently weak in view of the fact that they failed to take action, and that without the system whereby public officials in the highest roles of Malta’s institution must be appointed with a 2/3 majority in Parliament.

He said that either Malta’s institutions are scared to act, or they are being controlled, but that this means the public can no longer believe that justice is being served in Malta.

“Malta is in a political and a constitutional crises. All of Malta and Gozo is seriously concerned and angry with the current state of Malta.

Mrs Caruana Galizia alleged that in a safe at Pilatus Bank, “documents are held pertaining to Russian clients of the bank, and to Maltese PEPs, including John Dalli, consultant to Prime Minister Muscat, and Keith Schembri…both of whom have accounts in the bank in their own personal names”.

She also alleged that in a safe in the kitchen at the bank, there are documents which prove that Egrant Inc’s shares are held by Mossack Fonseca [the Panamanian law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal], as a nominee for Michelle Muscat. She claims that in another two documents, the declarations of trust and the account opening form, also prove that Mrs Muscat is the ultimate beneficial owner. 

Pilatus Bank was set up in 2013 and is located in Ta' Xbiex, Malta. Mrs Caruana Galizia claims that US$1.017 million was transferred from the Dubai-registered company belonging to one of the daughters of the Azerbaijani President, Leyla Aliyeva, through its bank account in Pilatus Bank, to Egrant. No documentation to this effect has so far been reproduced.

Egrant Inc is the third Panamanian company that was acquired by Nexia BT, whose managing director is Brian Tonna. He facilitated the acquisition of three Panama-based companies, Hearnville Inc, Tillgate Inc and Egrant Inc, through the services of Mossack Fonseca. The first two belonged to Minister Konrad Mizzi and the PM’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. Panama is a financially secretive jurisdiction, with the Panama Papers scandal exposing of the world’s elite conceal their wealth.

Asked by The Malta Independent, in view of the fact that no black on white evidence has yet to be reproduced, what this would mean for the PN in the next general election since it has fully endorsed the claims, Dr Busuttil said:

“The footage alone is damning against the Prime Minister. Imagine when the news came out, instead of Pilatus Bank being sealed, people walked in, lights went on, the owner and risk manager left through an emergency door. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to join the dots. The Prime Minister no longer has the Constitutional authority to rule”.

He said that the Prime Minister should have resigned a year ago when the Panama Papers scandal broke out.

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