The Malta Independent 30 September 2022, Friday
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'Crystal clear' proof Egrant allegations were 'undisputed and elaborate attempt at frame-up' - PM

Albert Galea Sunday, 22 July 2018, 09:46 Last update: about 5 years ago

The report on the inquiry held by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja into the company Egrant has given "crystal clear" proof that the allegations against Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle Muscat were a "clear and elaborate attempt at a frame-up", Muscat said.

Such a conclusion comes after the magisterial inquiry found that signatures on documents such as declarations of trust on this company were falsified, an act which is a criminal offence, Muscat reminded.  The person who falsified such declarations is, at the moment, not known, Muscat said.

He also quoted from the official report, which confirmed that there was no transaction of 1.017 million to Egrant; that the luggage bag that Pilatus Bank chairman Ali Sadr was seen leaving the bank with on the night that these allegations were made did not contain any documents; and that there were no doubts at all surrounding the flight that left Malta to Azerbaijan on that same night.  It was also confirmed that allegations regarding payments made to Michelle Buttigieg were false, and Muscat said that these allegations were made against "an innocent person who's only sin was being my friend from a long time ago".

The inquiry also showed that the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, the Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi, and John Dalli were not involved in any form of money laundering with Azerbaijan.

The report, Muscat said, also showed that there the testimonies of the late Daphne Caruana Galizia, Maria Efimova and Pierre Portelli not only went against the evidence that was gathered by the inquiry, but also that there were grave inconsistencies between them.  The court found that there were even moments when these testimonies were contradictory to each other.

He called the allegations which were levelled against him and his family "a net of lies" that hurt not only him and his family but also destabilised the country and put at risk the jobs of every Maltese family on the island.  He re-confirmed that this was "the biggest lie in Maltese political history".

He said that he had been prepared to resign if there had been any shred of evidence against him; but he had also said that if there was no evidence, then the people making these allegations had to take political responsibility for this scenario.

In this respect, he referred to former PN leader Simon Busuttil saying that Malta "has never had a more irresponsible politician" and that "not only is he a failure of a politician, but his name will be written in history not as the paladin for good governance but as a part of the biggest political lie in our country's history."

Muscat said that he expected Busuttil to resign from every position that he currently holds, and that this was the only honourable conclusion.  "Be a man for once", he said.  If he refuses to take responsibility and resign, Muscat said, then it should be Opposition Leader Adrian Delia who must push him to do so.  If Delia does not do so, then he is also complicit in this lie and must resign himself, Muscat said.

Becoming visibly emotional Muscat thanked the Maltese people for showing faith in him; "you were right, and you have been proven right", he said.  In this respect, he confirmed that from today he will continue as Prime Minister of Malta.

Ending the conference with a pause to wipe the tears from his face, a pause which brought a standing ovation from the Parliamentary group standing behind him, Muscat concluded, "I hope you are as proud of me as I am as proud of you."

You can watch the full press conference here.

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