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[WATCH] PN: Mizzi must reveal all on Panama company

Energy minister must explain circumstances informing set-up of Panamanian company • Labour challenges PN leader to repeat 'slanderous allegations'

Jurgen Balzan
25 February 2016, 2:24pm
Alex Perici Calascione and Beppe Fenech Adami
 
Energy minister must explain circumstances informing set-up of Panamanian company - PN
The Nationalist Party is calling for full disclosure from energy minister Konrad Mizzi on the financial set-up of a New Zealand trust and a Panamanian-registered company his wife and him set up for the management of their family assets.

Pointing out that Panama is on the EU’s tax haven blacklist, PN deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami said Mizzi should make the disclosure before his election as Labour deputy leader for party affairs, a post he is contested for.

“Mizzi must tell us when this company was set up, because as new details emerge they are placing serious doubts on both Joseph Muscat and Mizzi. We must know whether this company was created after he was made minister,” Fenech Adami said.

Flanked by PN candidate Alex Perici Calascione, Fenech Adami questioned why Mizzi had set up a trust and company in two far corners of the world when the minister has handled such crucial multi-million contracts for the country, namely the LNG power station, the partial privatisation of Enemalta to a Chinese state-owned company, the 18-year supply of gas from Azerbaijani state company SOCAR – which Fenech Adami said was “corrupt” – apart from having instructed that oil be hedged with SOCAR.

Asked whether future PN governments would forbid ministers from holding similar financial interests abroad, Fenech Adami said “its unethical for a government minister to create a trust and open a company in Panama while serving as a minister, its total unacceptable and the Code of Ethics makes it clear that ministers must declare everything.”

He added that the case “stinks” given that Mizzi has a company in Panama while serving as minister, who he underlined was responsible for the sale of State assets.

Labour reiterates challenge

In a bid to divert attention onto the opposition, Labour reiterated its challenge to PN leader Simon Busuttil to repeat what he said in parliament outside the House.

Accusing Busuttil of hiding behind Parliamentary immunity, Labour said that the PN leader is a “coward who refuses to repeat the slanderous allegations.”

On Wednesday, Busuttil asked the prime Minister whether he would be making a decleration on Mizzi’s trust fund and Panama company, adding that Panama is renowned as a tax haven where millions are put into companies registered in the Caribbean island rather than a place where one simply hives a minister’s salary.

“Busuttil chose to send Beppe Fenech Adami to the press conference who was not prepared to reapeat what Busuttil said in Parliament,” Labour said.

Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
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