The Malta Independent 26 September 2023, Tuesday
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Muscat again offers to drop Daphne libel if family acknowledges outcome of Egrant inquiry

Wednesday, 30 June 2021, 14:44 Last update: about 3 years ago

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has reiterated he is willing to drop a libel suit he had filed against Daphne Caruana Galizia if the slain journalist’s family acknowledges the outcome of the Egrant inquiry.

This after Peter Caruana Galizia said in an affidavit filed in court this week that his late wife had never actually claimed that the Muscat’s had received money from the daughter of Azeri president Leyla Aliyeva, or that Michelle Muscat had used the Panama company for illegal purposes.

Muscat had sued Caruana Galizia for libel after two blog posts in which she claimed that Egrant belonged to the former PM’s wife and that the company had received money from a Dubai company linked to Aliyeva.

The Egrant inquiry had found no proof to substantiate the claims that either of the Muscats owned Egrant or that money had been received by the company.

In the affidavit, Peter Caruana Galizia said Daphne had been very careful not to attribute any illegalities to Egrant, and that she had never directly claimed that Michelle Muscat had received money from Aliyeva.

He said that Egrant inquiry had not found proof that the Panama company belonged to the Muscats but could also not exclude this since it had not really identified who the company actually belonged to.

Caruana Galizia also said that the family had refused Muscat’s offer to drop the libel suit because it found his conditions to be “unacceptable.”

In a Facebook post in which he uploaded a copy of the affidavit, Muscat said he was willing to drop the cases if the family acknowledges the outcome of the Egrant inquiry, just like he will be accepting the outcome of the public inquiry into the assassination, “despite the fact that it is not adhering to its terms of reference.”

Muscat said he will not go into the merits of the the Opposition Leader is saying and will once again leave it up to the electorate to decide whether the Labour administration had changed their lives for the better.

He said that, in the affidavit, Peter Caruana Galizia said that there is no indication in his late wife’s blogs that he or his wife had received any funds, directly or indirectly, from Azerbaijan. “This is completely new when considering all the lies that have been said and continue to be said about us.”

While Daphne had not revealed her sources to her husband, it was clear that the Egrant “lie” was based on documents they had provided. The Egrant inquiry had concluded that these documents were forged, Muscat said.

Maria Efimova, who could have been one of Daphne’s sources, has been on the run for four years, being wanted in Malta for perjury, he continued. He added that the Egrant inquiry had found that her testimony differed greatly from that given by Daphne Caruana Galizia.

He also rebutted Peter Caruana Galizia’s claim about the conclusions of the inquiry, saying that international forensic experts had taken part. With the same reasoning used by Caruana Galizia, Egrant could belong to him.

Muscat said he cannot understand why it is so difficult for the Caruana Galizia family to acknowledge the findings of the Egrant inquiry.

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