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Russians refute allegations of meddling in Maltese election

The Russian embassy in Malta has reacted to claims of concerns by MI6 and the CIA that Russia could be interfering in Maltese elections

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
25 May 2017, 4:05pm
Malta’s refusal to allow refuelling to the RFS Dubra before joining the Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured) was cited as a reason for possible Russian retaliation
Malta’s refusal to allow refuelling to the RFS Dubra before joining the Admiral Kuznetsov (pictured) was cited as a reason for possible Russian retaliation
The Russian embassy in Malta has rejected allegations published in specialist publication IntelligenceOnline.com on concerns of Russian interference in the Maltese elections by the security services from Britain and the USA.

The embassy said it “categorically refutes” the allegations as being “absolutely unfounded and untrue” and that Russia had never interfered into Malta’s domestic affairs.

“All questions regarding these allegations should be addressed to the so-called security services of allied countries that spread this fake information,” the embassy said.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Thursday reacted to the news carried in IntelligenceOnline.com, saying that he was aware of information from foreign intelligence services, of alleged Russian meddling in Malta’s election.

But Muscat said he could not state, as claimed in the report, whether the whistleblower in the Egrant allegations, a Russian national, was connected to these claims.

“All I know is that we were told to expect retribution for our role in hastening the visa waiver programme for Ukraine and after we stopped the refuelling of a Russian warship on the way to Syria,” Muscat said. “This information came to us from foreign agencies, not from the Malta Security Services.”

According to the IntelligenceOnline.com, a French publication founded in 1980 by Indigo Publications that covers the intelligence sector, British and American intelligence agencies, “with MI6 and CIA at the forefront” were concerned about possible Russian interference in the Maltese election process.

“The allegations were made by a Russian accountant, Maria E., who long worked in Cyprus and is now in Malta, where she previously served with Pilatus Bank,” the report said referring to the Egrant allegations.

There was no clear connection stated between the Egrant allegations and Russian influence, but the publication namedropped Alex Zaslavsky, saying the whistleblower works for a St Julian’s eMoney payment firm, that belongs to Zaslavsky.

MaltaToday could not confirm whether Zaslavsky, listed as an American citizen with a California domicile according to the Maltese company registry, shares the same address with the whistleblower as claimed in IntelligenceOnline.com.

According to IntelligenceOnline.com, “some officials perceive it as a move to destabilise Malta’s pro-Western prime minister that comes from on high in the Kremlin, especially because it has occurred at a time when Muscat has been openly opposed to Moscow,” it said referring to Malta’s refusal to allow Russian  vessels like the RFS Dubra sailing to Syria to stop over and refuel on the island. That stirred Moscow’s fury as it deemed such refuelling vital. The Russian foreign ministry had condemned Malta’s decision saying in a statement that the island had “fallen victim to an information war led by the West”.

 

MORE • Russia lashes out at Malta over refusal to refuel its warships

 

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.