The Malta Independent 26 September 2021, Sunday

Vote for a return to sanity

Daphne Caruana Galizia Thursday, 1 June 2017, 11:08 Last update: about 5 years ago

My discovery, a couple of days ago, that the Prime Minister and his scandal-ridden chief of staff have been colluding from the outset with Christian Kalin, group chairman of Henley & Partners, using secret addresses hosted on a private server in the United States of America, summed up for me the current state of play in Malta. That sort of thing would have been completely inconceivable under the governments of Eddie Fenech Adami and Lawrence Gonzi, would be inconceivable under the government of Simon Busuttil, should we be delivered from evil this Saturday.


As I scrolled through email after email, looking at the sick collusion, the nefarious plotting, the completely crazy risks they took of committing their views, decisions and requests to the digital record when even Karl Cini and Brian Tonna knew to use Skype, I was particularly taken by the nature of the exchanges between Henley & Partners’ Kalin, the Prime Minister and the infamous Keith Schembri. These are not exchanges between the Prime Minister of a European Union member state, his chief of staff (an important role) and the chairman of a corporation which depends for much of its revenue and business on selling EU citizenship, which it can most easily obtain for its clients through a squalid deal signed with the government of Malta.

No, these are email exchanges between co-conspirators, between equals, between those who are somehow involved together, though it is not immediately clear how.  The corporation chairman writes emails to both the Prime Minister and his chief of staff concurrently, when the normal protocol would be to email the chief of staff and let him handle the Prime Minister. Scratch that: there is no normal protocol under which the chairman of a corporation has friendly access to the Office of the Prime Minister. And not only does Kalin write emails to the PM and his chief of staff at the same time, and address them – in breach of all protocol and the crucial formality required to maintain a professional distance – by their first names, but he puts the chief of staff’s name before the Prime Minister’s. “Keith, Joseph”, he writes. Or, “Keith and Joseph”.

The most disturbing aspect of all this – other than that it leads to suspicions of money-related wrong-doing – is that the Prime Minister is prepared to let go of the dignity of the office he holds and descend to the level where he allows those who approach him to place him on the same level as his underling, the chief of staff, who is – in the chain of command – answerable to him and not his equal. He lowers to the point of erasure the dignity of his office, too, by allowing Christian Kalin, somebody who flogs passports to people who can’t use their own (for a variety of reasons that are best left unexamined), to treat the Prime Minister of a European Union member state in the same manner as he would treat the prime minister of St Kitts & Nevis, the dirt-poor Caribbean island whose passports Kalin sells to individuals like the Iranian Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, who owns the now notorious Pilatus Bank. Hasheminejad bought a St Kitts & Nevis passport from Kalin’s outfit in 2009. Though Kalin claimed, when I asked him point blank, not to have any particularly special relationship with Pilatus Bank, the fact remains that he is very close to Hasheminejad. Kalin and his wife even invited Hasheminejad and his wife to their 20th wedding anniversary party in Switzerland, which is a good indicator of the nature of their relationship – not distant or merely professional at all.

That the Prime Minister would lower himself, his office and his country to that level is deeply upsetting. The nature of his exchanges on his [email protected] address, in league with his chief of staff on his [email protected] address, point to a deep level of contempt for the electorate, for the public in general, for the free press, and above all, for the rule of law. That the Prime Minister himself should collude with a Swiss citizen and the corporation he chairs, to undermine the rule of law in Malta by using a private email server for dealings connected with the sale of citizenship, so as to keep them off the public record on the Malta government servers, is shocking. He doesn’t care that this Swiss citizen is aware that he, the Prime Minister, is acting to hide important information and communications from the public record and the civil service, and that the Swiss citizen actively joins in enthusiastically with the Maltese prime minister to launch assaults on Maltese journalists, Maltese members of parliament from the Opposition party, and the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee when the PAC is discussing Henley & Partners’ contract with the Malta government. It is shameful, they are shameless, and we simply cannot go on like this.

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