The Malta Independent 18 May 2022, Wednesday

Updated: Muscat evasive on claims Accutor contract worth €540,000

Friday, 21 January 2022, 13:20 Last update: about 5 months ago

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat would not say if claims made by journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia about his contract with Accutor was worth €540,000.

Caruana Galizia claimed on Friday that Muscat’s contract with the Swiss company linked to Steward Health Care was worth some €540,000

Muscat’s home was raided by police on Wednesday morning in connection with a magisterial inquiry opened into a €60,000 payment he received from Accutor, a Swiss company with links to Steward Health Care.

Last November, it had been reported that the former prime minister had received €60,000 from Accutor AG, a company which in turn pocketed millions from Steward Healthcare when it took over a contract, from Vitals, to run St Luke's Hospital, Gozo Hospital and Karen Grech Hospital.

Police spent three hours at his home, and seized Muscat's mobile phone, together with those belonging to his wife and two daughters.

Muscat said he was only half-surprised by the visit, as he had been hearing of such rumours since last Sunday, spearheaded by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

Now, Matthew Caruana Galizia has claimed that the €60,000 payment is only the tip of the iceberg, and that Muscat’s actual contract with the Swiss company was much larger.

Indeed, Caruana Galizia explained that Muscat’s contract was worth €15,000 per month for a minimum of 36 months – making up a total of €540,000.

He said that the payments to Muscat were only paused when UBS Bank flagged them and closed Accutor’s accounts.

That means, he said, that unless he can prove that the contract was terminated by mutual agreement, Muscat is still owed another €480,000.

But the former prime minister told MaltaToday that no amounts are due and the contract was “open ended” with both sides having the option to terminate it. The agreement was stopped during the pandemic, he said.

Asked to clarify his relationship with Accutor, Muscat said: “The final agreement was not for a 36-month period and was stopped during the pandemic… there is no link to the hospitals deal. I have provided the authorities with details of work I carried out.”

However, when pressed to say whether the contract was worth €540,000, Muscat insisted he had “nothing to add” and that his answers were clear enough.

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