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Muscat’s revamped website ‘fact-checks’ Egrant story

Joseph Muscat's website 'fact-checks' Egrant, dismisses story as a wild accusation by a 'weak and uncharismatic Opposition leader who is paralyzed by Malta's economic success'

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
2 May 2017, 6:14pm
Joseph Muscat's website includes a 'fact-check' on the Egrant story
Joseph Muscat's website includes a 'fact-check' on the Egrant story
As part of his electoral campaign, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has revamped his personal website that had lied dormant since the last election.

And the website includes an entire section dedicated to “fact-checking” reports that his wife Michelle Muscat is the ultimate beneficiary owner of the secret offshore Panama company Egrant.

It discredits the entire story as a lie concocted by the Opposition as part of an underhanded tactic to seize power.

“Malta has never had it so good. The country’s presidency of the Council of the EU was a resounding success. In just four years, Malta achieved its first surplus in 35 years and a record growth of 5%; three times the EU average. Under the stable yet dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Malta enjoys the highest ever employment levels, lowest unemployment across all age brackets, as well as a recent raise in minimum wage, the first since 1989.

“Paralyzed by this economic success, an opposition beleaguered by a week and uncharismatic leader, fraud scandals and hijacked by outsiders, Marlene Farrugia, the de facto 2nd PN leader, PN fears that it is heading for another historic defeat.”

Joseph Muscat announced a snap election during a May Day mass meeting on Sunday
Joseph Muscat announced a snap election during a May Day mass meeting on Sunday
In Q&A format, Muscat’s website describes Busuttil, Daphne Caruana Galizia, and the Russian ex-Pilatus employee who leaked the story to them as “the trio”.

“They have made wild accusations about the Prime Minister and his family. As the trio played tactical political games, dragging on the accusations without showing any evidence, refusing to file a police report to kick-start the investigations and questioning the impartiality of the judiciary, they undermined Malta’s political institutions and reputation.”

It goes on to lambast them for not bringing any proof to support their claims, except for a photo of the Pilatus Bank chairman carrying suitcases out of his office, referring to footage of the Pilatus Bank chairman and another employee taken on the night the story broke.

The final question asks: “Isn’t the lack of traceability and secrecy the whole point of these offshore companies?”

The answer has a patronising tone: “It’s not that simple. In order to create an international company in a foreign jurisdiction, business people use a complex network of financial institutions across the globe and financial services. Removing all trace will be pretty tough.

“However, fine, let’s run with your premise for a moment and assume that all traces of Egrant can be removed, which is practically impossible.

“We still have the issue of the transfer of funds. The allegations of corruption rest on the claims that money was transferred to Michelle Muscat’s account. The transfer of funds is the key issue to this puzzle.”

The page also allows people to ‘contribute to the truth’, a button that directs them to a page requesting them to submit their names and ID card numbers and leave a message of support.