The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Muscats' request to participate in Ferris perjury case turned down by court

Wednesday, 5 October 2022, 15:56 Last update: about 3 months ago

A request by former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle to be admitted as parte civile in a perjury case against former FIAU manager Jonathan Ferris was turned down by a court on Wednesday.

The perjury case was filed against Ferris after he had claimed to have identified a $600,000 transaction from Leyla Aliyeva, daughter of Azerbaijani president Ilham Alijev, to the New York-based fashion company Buttardi, a company owned by Michelle Buttigieg, a close friend of Michelle Muscat. Ferris had claimed the payment was disguised as a loan.

In January 2021, the court had rescinded a decree allowing the Muscats to participate in the case.

The case had originally been slated to be heard by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, who however, subsequently recused himself due to a possible conflict of interest - moments after granting the Muscats the right to participate in the proceedings.

The reason given for the recusal was the fact that Mifsud is also hearing a separate case in which whistleblower Maria Efimova is charged with making false accusations about several police officers, including Ferris.

On 23 November 2020, the case was assigned to Magistrate Marse-Ann Farrugia.

Explaining its considerations, the court said the prosecution had no objection to the Muscats being included as parte civile, but the defence had opposed the request.

The Muscats, through their lawyer, argued that procedures against Ferris were started after orders by the inquiring magistrate in his conclusions for the Egrant inquiry.

The court said that the Muscats did not explain how the accused testimony, “if for the sake of the argument was false”, could implicate them or cause them any damage.

The court ordered the case to proceed according to law, and it has been adjourned to January.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi is representing Jonathan Ferris. Pawlu Lia was lawyer for Joseph and Michelle Muscat.

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