The Malta Independent 13 July 2020, Monday

Updated: PM says he will defend country in Malta Files leak, despite PN's 'implications'

Saturday, 20 May 2017, 10:20 Last update: about 4 years ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said that, in light of the Malta Files situation, he is going to defend Malta, despite the 'hits' which other countries are 'giving Malta', and despite "people close to the Nationalist Party who may be mentioned in these leaks".

"They tried to say that there is something illegal in our financial services, when the truth is that our financial systems are the same as when we joined the European Union. It is approved by the EU and OECD and we are compliant," Dr Muscat said on a live broadcast. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"There are those who have it in their interest to give a hit to Malta," he said.  He continued that he is informed that there are a number of people close to the Nationalist Party "who are going to be mentioned in these stories." "This is not a partisan issue, he said", "I am not going to use these as attacks," he said, "I am going to defend my country." Speaking at the Labour Party's presentation of candidates earlier, The Prime Minister also said that these links are not connected to the Panama Papers leaks. 

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna said that he believes that the news regarding Maltafiles is fake news, which is made up by European countries to ruin Malta’s iGaming industry, whilst acknlowledging the seriousness of the claims. 

Replying to questions by the media on how the Government is going to respond to these ‘serious claims’ in a press conference this morning, Minister Scicluna agreed that the claims were serious and said that other European countries, who he did not want to name specifically “want to taste our success, especially in the iGaming industry”.

He said that regarding taxes in the sector, Opposition and Government has always agreed that such measures benefit the country, and the fiscal regime was always approved by the EU. “Luckily it is fake news,” he said, “it is all made up to ruin the iGaming industry”.        

Maltafiles is a damning report issued by a group of investigative journalists showing that Malta has become a "pirate base" for tax avoidance in the European Union. 

Calling the story ‘spin’, Minister Scicluna said that both parties need to see what is going to happen. “We need to remain calm,” he said, “we are respecting all agreements and no one (in the EU) has ever said that Malta is out of sync,” “Malta is not hiding from some authorities,” he added. He explained that when Malta joined the EU, all elements where companies may have seemed to contain offshore elements were removed and only kept structures which were approved by the EU.

Over the last three months, journalistic network European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) dug into over 150,000 documents that show how international companies take advantage of this system.

They have labelled the investigation as the Malta Files, and were uploaded online last night. More info can be found here.

Malta’s tax systems allows companies to pay 5% tax, the lowest tax on profits in the European Union.

 

  • don't miss