The Malta Independent 23 January 2020, Thursday

Watch: Malta Files - 'Unprecedented attack' on Malta, PM Muscat calls for united front

Saturday, 20 May 2017, 15:39 Last update: about 4 years ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said today that there should be a united front for the country to face what he described as an “unprecedented attack” on the country’s financial services sector and taxation system.

He was speaking at a press conference following the publication of what has been described as the Malta Files, issued by a group of investigative journalists showing that Malta has become a "pirate base" for tax avoidance in the European Union. 


Dr Muscat said the government wanted to give importance to the issue. “We are not brushing things aside,” he said, “because we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

He said that as a government they were expecting some form of attack, following what happened with the Lux Leaks. The information released in the Malta Files, the Prime Minister said, is already available to the public online. It is not secret information, he added.

What is not true is that there are offshore companies registered in Malta, the Prime Minister said.

He added that the Maltese taxation system is the same as that which was in place before Malta joined the European Union, and it was vetted before Malta was accepted as a member state.

We have been pressured to change it and there will be pressure in the future, but we will continue to defend our system, Dr Muscat said.

He refused to acknowledge that the Malta Files had in any way any connection with the revelations made in the Panama Papers. Neither did he think that his failure to take action on Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri led to the Malta Files.

Addressing the media earlier, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said that this “great calumny” against Malta can cause serious damage. “There is great envy towards Malta, and its success,” Prof. Scicluna said.

The spin that has been given to the story is preposterous, he added. To say that Malta obtained a budgetary surplus, registered low employment and achieved great economic growth because of the system in place is just not on.

With regard to secrecy, Prof. Scicluna said that the most secretive country in this respect is Switzerland, and Panama is also high on the list. But Germany and Luxembourg were more secretive than Malta according to the Tax Justice Network.

The press conference was also addressed by Joseph Caruana, Registrar of Companies.



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