The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

Joseph Muscat denies accusations of illegalities reported by financial crime blogger

Wednesday, 16 September 2020, 17:57 Last update: about 7 days ago

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has denied any accusations of illegalities, after a financial crime blogger wrote that he is under investigation by foreign authorities.

Kenneth Rijock, who describes himself as a former money launderer turned-compliance officer specialising in enhanced due diligence and financial crime consultant, published an article stating that some of his reliable sources are investigating Muscat for criminal activity in violation of American law.

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“Lest you think that the Muscat investigation is purely an American show, since you have probably heard that there have been several US law enforcement agents on the ground in Malta for weeks (FBI), there are three Western European countries that also have criminal investigations pending against the former prime minister.” He writes that, 'it is presumed, but not confirmed,’ that those investigations involve the laundering of criminal proceeds.

He also writes that 'some observers' believe that Muscat visited one or more offshore financial centres to ‘deposit illicit cash’.

In addition, Rijock wrote that an allegation that has surfaced is in terms of the provision of material support to a Designated Terrorist Organization.

The Malta Independent sent questions to Muscat, asking whether he has been contacted by any foreign law enforcement agencies, whether he is aware of any foreign investigations into him, whether he has been contacted by the Maltese authorities in connection to allegations of money laundering, bribes or kick-backs, and whether he has visited a number of countries mentioned in Rijock’s blog, among other things.

“While I do not know who the said gentleman is, one can refer to open source media according to which he has been accused of propagating fake news and also made to apologise for blogs he wrote.  I cannot verify whether these reports in his regard are true or not,” Muscat said.

“He is also a ‘self-confessed’, ‘ex-career money launderer’ and his colourful history too seems to be confirmed on open source. I find it extremely difficult to believe anything written in the said article, also because the accusations levelled against me, which now even link me to aiding terrorists, are totally false.”

“I totally deny any of the accusation of illegalities directed towards me by this individual who seems to have contacts to usual suspects in Malta. I have not been contacted by any foreign law enforcement agency and I am not aware of any such ‘investigation’.  I am not facing any trials, in the US or elsewhere and do not have any attorneys.  I also do not have any bank accounts other than the local ones declared in my publicly available Declaration of Assets.”

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