Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has asked the Police Commissioner to take the claims made by blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia on the true owner of Egrant Inc to the duty Magistrate, for an inquiry to be launched.
It is clear that the PM had a change of heart on the matter, as a few hours earlier he had said the government would not meddle into the financial services sector when he was asked by The Malta Independent as to whether he intended to order an inquiry.
But, later, a Department of Information press statement issued just after midnight said that this request for an inquiry was made through the Prime Minister’s lawyers.
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 company through the services of Mossack Fonseca, Hearnville Inc, Tillgate Inc and Egrant Inc. 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 how the world’s elite conceal their wealth.
The statement said that the duty Magistrate was also requested to “preserve all proof and give direction to the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner in order to take all necessary action should they find a case”.
“The Prime Minister maintains that this is the biggest lie in political history. The leader of the opposition has debased politics to the lowest ever levels. The truth is the best weapon against lies and dirt”.
Following the claim made by Mrs Caruana Galizia on her personal blog, the Prime Minister immediately called a press conference to categorically deny the claims and called on anyone with any sort of proof to contact the police.
The fully story regarding Mrs Caruana Galizia’s claims and the Prime Minister’s press conference can be found here.
After the press conference, the Nationalist Party media, Net, 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.
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.
The PN media also broadcast footage of Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar at a restaurant serving rabbit, where he said that he has no comment to make at this stage.