The Malta Independent 17 October 2018, Wednesday

Updated: PM asks AG to publish Egrant inquiry after internal review concludes

Saturday, 21 July 2018, 11:32 Last update: about 4 months ago

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja who was investigating claims that Michelle Muscat, wife of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, is the owner of the Secret Panama Company Egrant, has concluded his inquiry, and the findings were handed over to the Attorney General.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, in a tweet, said he has asked the Attorney General to publish the inquiry after he concludes his internal review. According to the Maltese legal system, it is the Attorney General who decides whether an inquiry can be published or not. 

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The AG, in a statement, said that the report, which he is reviewing, is voluminous.

The Egrant inquiry was launched by the Prime Minister after allegations surfaced that his wife is the ultimate beneficiary owner of a company opened in Panama. The allegations were made by assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, that Michelle Muscat owned the company. Caruana Galizia had written the articles based on information by Pilatus Bank whistleblower Maria Efimova.

The Egrant company was opened just after the 2013 election with two others belonging to Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

In a statement on 20 April 2017,  The PM had asked his lawyers to contact the Police commissioner and asked him to inform the duty magistrate to investigate the allegations, preserve all evidence and instruct the AG and police commissioner to take all necessary steps. This was made on the same night that the bank's former Chairman, Ali Sadr and a woman, were seen leaving the Pilatus bank premises with suitcases late at night.

Prime Minister Muscat had called the allegation the biggest political lie, and said he would resign if the inquiry into the matter found a connection. 

 

The PN, in a statement, said it took not of this news, and took note that the scope of this inquiry was to see whether Michelle Muscat was the ultimate beneficial owner of EGRANT Inc, whether the Prime Minister or a member of his family, or John Dalli, Keith Schembri, or Konrad Mizzi had bank accounts with Pilatus Bank, and whether they were involved in suspicious financial transactions through Pilatus, or in acts of corruption or money laundering with Azerbaijani nationals.

The PN said it will give its reaction once the inquiry is published, and that they want it published in full.

The PL, in a statement, said that the PM has always been clear that he will resign if the slightest truth about the allegations is found, and asked whether others will do the same.

PN MP Simon Busuttil tweeted that the report should be published immediately.


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