A distraction purposely designed

I will say this with some reluctance, but with much conviction: Delia’s fake signature saga is a distraction designed to deviate our attention away from the central point in the story

Delia said late last week that he was in possession of a document that showed his signature had been falsified
Delia said late last week that he was in possession of a document that showed his signature had been falsified

The greatest fear for any journalist or writer is to be ignored or be treated as irrelevant. Politicians share the same fears: they fear being discredited, forgotten, tainted and side-lined.

When it comes to journalism I know that there are concerns that the public is effectively sanitised by the economic good times, and uninterested in the events taking place around them. But I do not share the belief that everything is lost with the public. That the Maltese public does not support, for example, Adrian Delia, does not mean that everyone else agrees with Joseph Muscat.

Let me start by looking at one event which dominated the week. The first is surely the lame response by Adrian Delia to a story that confirms that the FIAU concluded preliminary investigations that found sufficient grounds for the police to proceed over money laundering concerns.

Delia reacted late last week by saying that he was in possession of a document that showed his signature had been falsified. But what he did not say is that the document (see front page story) had nothing whatsoever to do with the FIAU investigation, and he knew this.

I will say this with some reluctance, but with much conviction: Delia’s fake signature saga is a distraction designed to deviate our attention away from the central point in the story

His lawyer, Joe Giglio, rushed over to the police HQ, and made such a fuss that the duty magistrate Aaron Bugeja chose to issue a search warrant at Diana Busuttil’s – formerly the spouse of Kris Bajada – home. Diana is Simon Busuttil’s sister whose estranged husband is currently hospitalised. Her husband had a company with Adrian Delia – but this company has nothing whatsoever to do with the FIAU’s investigation.

As far as I know, the police did not find anything of substance. But what is more curious is why no one is asking Adrian Delia why he is confusing the two issues.

To be entirely correct, Delia has refused to answer direct questions, instead using stock replies such as: “I am pressed for time,” or “Why don’t you come over and I’ll explain everything?” and avoiding answering the direct questions. His worst answer is when he hits out at Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, directing journalists to look at their wrongdoing. For this is precisely the reason why he is not fit for purpose.

How can Delia pontificate and sermonise over good governance when he himself is blemished and tarnished?

Delia is obviously taking advantage of the fact that he imagines the general public to be a fool and too unsophisticated to understand that the false signatures ‘stunt’ has nothing at all to do with FIAU probe into alleged money laundering… money which allegedly originates from illicit activities.

What is really worrying is that I am starting to believe that the false signatures on a Maltese company document amending its memorandum and articles of association, is a ploy to deviate attention.

And it would be a very sad day if this allegation were proven true.

But I would like to flag one important aspect to this saga: the fact that the FIAU has determined there are sufficient grounds for the police to act against Delia shows how the reports in the run-up to Delia’s election, are not to be taken lightly. Indeed, had Adrian Delia not ceded the defamation cases he filed against Daphne Caruana Galizia, it could very well be the case that Caruana Galizia would have been proven right.

Delia will have to survive the European parliamentary elections in May and in all probability, he will lose badly but also hobble on, wounded and maimed… refusing to leave, surrounded by sycophants who have little concern that their party is facing annihilation.

Of course, worse than his loyal posse, are the parliamentarians in the PN group who are more interested in doing what most of the Maltese are actually doing –making pigs of themselves in this economic renaissance – instead of plucking some courage to target the leadership and remove Delia.

I will say this with some reluctance, but with much conviction: Delia’s fake signature saga is a distraction designed to deviate our attention away from the central point in the story, a story that confirms one’s worst fears: the leader of the Opposition is being investigated for money laundering. No politician can operate with these dark shadows over his or her head.

If he loved himself, his party and his country, he would do the honourable thing and resign.

>•<

I do not believe anyone really cares if Lombard Bank is owned by private investors or the Maltese government. We do know that at the very end of the day, Lombard Bank’s success and direction is the brainchild of a certain Joe Said: a shrewd businessman who flourished and established himself in the shadows of the late magnate Bertu Mizzi.

Last August the government jumped in to buy 49% of Lombard Bank because its Cypriot shareholder was facing some difficulties. The €60 million to succour the bank came from the National Development and Social Fund, a fund which owes its existence to the sale of Maltese citizenship to the global elites.

Now, until August 2018, one member of the board of governors was a certain Michael Bonello, the former Central Bank Governor. Soon after the NDSF decided to purchase 49% of Lombard Bank, Bonello resigned from the NDSF and went over to Lombard Bank to serve as chairman.

And only this week, barely eight months later, Michael Bonello stated in his annual report for Lombard Bank that it would be opportune for the NDSF not to remain a shareholder and that the 49% should be sold to the public. Well, if this was not a case of revolving doors, then what is?

What I do know is that the government relayed a very clear message, which was reported in the newly relaunched BusinessToday on Thursday, saying that “it would sell, but only to a strategic partner.”

One final point. Whenever you hear the word ‘public’, especially from a bank, always remember that the public aren’t Joe Citizen and your next-door neighbour who spends his Sundays fishing for mullet in Msida creek. It’s the fat cats, the ones with the liquidity to park large sums of euros aside for some aggressive appreciation from highly profitable banks.

I am sure Joe Said would understand what I am talking about.

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