The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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Joseph Muscat’s €11,800 monthly consultancy agreement

Sunday, 28 May 2023, 09:55 Last update: about 2 years ago

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat received an €11,800 monthly consultancy contract by a casino tycoon under a year after he oversaw a deal involving the Dragonara Casino, the Times of Malta reports.

It said that the Casino had saved millions when Muscat's government reduced the annual ground rent payments and extended the property lease without a public tender by 64 years.

It said that nine months after the deal, "monthly payments of €11,800 started being routed to Muscat via a loss-making exotic bird company owned by casino managing director and shareholder Johann Schembri as part of a consultancy contract worth €141,600 annually," and that payments started in April 2020.

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The Times reports that Schembri said that Muscat's engagement as a consultant was unrelated to the concession.

It also reports that the exotic bird company, called Organicum, declared an income of €20,000 in 2020 and €13,000 in 2021, "and hundreds of thousands in losses".  It reports Schembri, as having said through his lawyer, that Schembri is involved in various businesses and his vision and focus is to also extend these businesses beyond Malta. "Dr Muscat's vast experience and international contacts were in this regard clearly relevant and valuable. Indeed, a number of leads were identified through Dr Muscat and are currently actively being pursued."

The Times says that Muscat declined to comment on specific consultancy agreements, "instead accusing Times of Malta of being 'hellbent on characterising legitimate and documented work I do as in some way untoward'".

 


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