The Malta Independent 25 June 2019, Tuesday

No reply from police to my request for protection – David Casa

Neil Camilleri Sunday, 23 December 2018, 08:00 Last update: about 7 months ago

David Casa's lawyers have written to the Police Commissioner requesting police protection but their request has seemingly been ignored, the Nationalist MEP told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

In an interview carried out in Strasbourg last week, Casa said he has been receiving regular threats ever since the latest 17 Black revelations broke in the media. But he says his pleas for police protection, mainly for his family in Malta, have been ignored.


The MEP said he has received suspicious calls originating in Azerbaijan, calls from withheld numbers and other forms of threats on the social media. "Why should I have to go to the police for protection?" he said. "Why do I have to go before the European Parliament and say that my life is not as it was before? The Police Commissioner has done nothing. They used to say that Daphne Caruana Galizia refused police protection. Well I have asked for protection but have received nothing more than blah, blah, blah."

Casa said he was more worried about his family and had asked for protection for them. "My lawyer made the request and the police told him they were looking into it but nothing has happened since then."

Promising that he would not shut up because he represents the people, Casa says he finds courage in thinking about the situation his friend Daphne Caruana Galizia had gone through, which was even worse than his. "She could not even go to the festa. She had her bank accounts frozen. At times she would tell me that she felt safer indoors and would rather not go out to dinner."

Casa believes the threats are directly related to his work in respect of Pilatus Bank and 17 Black. He says he was forced to go to the European institutions after seeing that the Maltese authorities lacked the will to investigate Pilatus Bank. His efforts have led to a number of EP resolutions and fact-finding missions. "Thanks to this pressure, Pilatus Bank closed down and the FIAU (Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit) was forced to change its modus operandi," he says.

"I knew that I was fighting a government and some very powerful people, including some in Azerbaijan. I knew that I would be fighting criminals, people who would stop at nothing. We have a clear example in what happened to Daphne. I know that these people can use undemocratic methods - like how Pilatus Bank threatened media houses with law suits running into the millions."

He turned to 17 Black, which he describes as Malta's biggest scandal. Daphne Caruana Galizia was investigating the company when she was killed, and had come into possession of some 160,000 leaked documents on the power station.

Asked if he was planning to step up his efforts after the latest 17 Black revelations and NAO report, Casa said: "I had an interest in investigating further. It's not about stepping up: I never stopped. I am continuing with my inquiries, using my contacts, although I cannot reveal any details as yet. There is also the other company - MacBridge. I will stop at nothing until the truth comes out and we have justice."

A couple of weeks ago, The Malta Independent reported that Casa had written to Europol asking it to oversee the securing of evidence related to 17 Black. Asked if there were any developments, Casa said he was not at liberty to say. "All I can say is that I do not have faith in the Maltese authorities. And because of this, I want Europol to ensure that no evidence is lost. While the journalists at the Daphne Project have done sterling work, I would be more comfortable knowing that Europol is also investigating and safeguarding evidence."

Egrant inquiry

The Malta Independent on Sunday asked Casa if he had accepted the Egrant inquiry conclusions. Only 50 pages from a 1,400-page report have been published, but the magisterial inquiry found no evidence to support the claims that Egrant belonged to the Prime Minister and his wife.

Casa quickly pointed out that not all the conclusions had been published. "Don't you think it strange that one of the terms of reference of the inquiry that the PM had requested was not 'who owns Egrant?" he asked.

Accusing the Prime Minister of 'theatrics' for failing to keep his promise to publish the entire report, Casa praised PN Leader Adrian Delia for taking the matter to court. "The report said there was not enough evidence to substantiate the claim that Egrant belonged to the Muscats. But will we stop there? Will we not insist on finding out to whom the company belonged?"

The MEP denied the suggestion that he was trying to shed doubt on the result of the inquiry, insisting that while some questions had been answered, others had not. Asked if he felt the same as Simon Busuttil, who still believes that Egrant belongs to the PM, Casa said that in view of the fact that the full report has not been published, he "cannot exclude anything."

"I am giving the PM the benefit of the doubt. But what is the PM doing to find out who it belongs to? If it exonerates you, why not publish, or at least give a copy to the Leader of the Opposition?"

Maria Efimova

The MEP was also asked why he no longer speaks about Maria Efimova, the Pilatus Bank whistleblower who fled from Malta after the Egrant allegations. Was this because she was no longer credible?

"Maria Efimova gave us a lot of information, such as on the clients of the bank, some of whom where Azeri nationals," said Casa. "All this was confirmed to be true. There were some things that could be quickly looked into and verified and there were things about which there was no proof to substantiate. She is no longer in the news because she fled the country. She had advised Daphne to do the same. She was receiving threats, like I am now, because she was fighting against a powerful bank."

Casa said he had not been in contact with Maria Efimova since her release from a Greek prison, saying:  "I suppose that she is keeping her head down because of the threats on her life."

Independent inquiry

Turning to the calls for a public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Casa insisted that the country had a duty to see if her assassination could have been avoided.

"I will not rest until such an inquiry takes place, with the involvement of Europol. Only in this way can the whole truth come out," he insisted.  Asked how this could happen without some degree of involvement on the part of the Malta Police Force, which is being accused of being controlled by Castille, Casa said people such as Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta, who is married to a Government Minister, certainly cannot be involved.

He acknowledged that finding people who were truly independent was no easy task since: "Under this government, everyone has to report back to their superiors, who in turn have to report to their political masters. We are at a point where the FIAU, instead of using the evidence it has to prosecute, prefers giving stories to certain journalists. So, again, I do not have faith in these institutions. There can only be a truly independent inquiry if the people involved in it do not have Castille as their political master."

Rule of law missions to Malta

Casa was also asked about the recent calls by Socialist MEP Ana Gomes for Adrian Delia to step down as Opposition Leader over claims of dubious legal work that predates his entry into politics.

The Nationalist Party exalted Gomes when she attacked the PM over his handling of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. "I have known Ana Gomes for a long time," said Casa. "Naturally, she is seeing - from an EP point of view - what is happening to our institutions. I am feeling more than her that the institutions are being used to attack those who are fighting corruption. She has a right to say what she wants but, naturally, I don't agree with her on this. These are things that happen. I have, on occasion, disagreed with EPP MEPs when they spoke against our taxation system. When Sven Giegold attacked HSBC I did not agree with him.

"I do not believe that Adrian Delia should do what Ana Gomes is saying for the simple reason that I do not know what is being investigated and I don't know if it is true that he is being investigated, just  as I don't know what the situation is on 17 Black. These investigations that are being mentioned - do they really exist?"

Drug allegations

This newspaper asked David Casa about drug allegations that were made against him some weeks ago by a former aide. Casa has denied the claims but has not sued the man behind the allegations or the newspaper that published them, MaltaToday.

He says the attacks were related to his work on 17 Black. "I knew that if I went after powerful individuals I would be made to go through hell. I have been labelled a traitor, Pilatus Bank's lawyers have threatened me with multi-million dollar lawsuits and Ministers have told me that I would go to prison if I published the leaked FIAU reports.

"The attacks started as soon as the Daphne Project sent questions about 17 Black and once I wrote to Noor Bank in Dubai and it froze two million dollars it held for the company. I can assure you that the attack will become even harsher as more information comes out. But this is a choice I made. This is not just me; there are others under attack, including Adrian Delia, Simon Busuttil, Jason Azzopardi and Beppe Fenech Adami."

Casa noted that earlier allegations he had faced, regarding the alleged misappropriation of EU funds, had been disproved. "The people at Castille wanted to put me on the same level as the corrupt people surrounding the Prime Minister," he said.

Pressed as to why he had not sued for libel, Casa said: "I started out as a journalist and I have always resisted suing people for libel, even if I had many cases where I could have done so. If I were to file for libel about every lie they said about me, I would end up sleeping at the law courts. It would mean travelling constantly to Malta, wasting my time, which is exactly what they want. This does not mean that there will not come a time when I will hold these people accountable. I will choose if and when to take action, but I can assure you that I am not taking things lightly."

European elections

Turning to the European Parliament elections next year, The Malta Independent on Sunday asked Casa whether the PN would lose its third seat, as currently predicted by EU affairs news portal Politico.

"Five years ago, we were in the same situation. Six months before we thought we would win two seats, but we got three. We have many things going against us, including a strong economy, which we are happy about, and corruption is no longer a dirty word.

"Should I shut up because speaking about corruption is not attractive? Of course not! Am I doing the right thing? Yes. As long as the Maltese people keep voting me into the EP I will keep doing my work. And I am not alone.

Asked about the division within the Nationalist Party, Casa insisted that this was simply something the PL tried to portray. "I can assure you that the PN is united in fighting corruption and criminality. These two so-called factions have come together to focus on a myriad of issues," he insisted. "And I am working very well with the present leadership. Yes, I did back Chris Said's leadership bid. But I bow my head to the democratic process. I meet Adrian Delia regularly to keep him informed about our work at the EP. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't. I am an open book and I think Delia appreciates this."

Work-Life Balance Directive

This newspaper also spoke to Casa about the Work-Life Balance Directive he is piloting, negotiations having now entered the fifth round. Asked to explain the main highlights of the Directive, Casa said the main aim was to give parents more time with their children, and to give fathers more responsibility when it came to bringing up their children.

"This legislation will introduce a minimum of 10 days leave for fathers at around the time of the birth of a child and the right to paid leave for each parent in the early years of their children's lives", he said. The proposed EU law also aims at introducing  the right for parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements and for employees caring for ill relatives to be able to use leave for this purpose while ensuring that their employment rights are safeguarded.

Another proposal is for Carer's Leave, where individuals would be able to take a number of days' leave to care for a relative or partner. There is so far no agreement on the definition of the term 'relative'. Casa said that he has held many meetings with trade unions and employers, including in Malta, and that the  aim is to implement these rights as a minimum standard without negatively affecting SMEs. 

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