‘Ask the Prime Minister’, Mizzi says when asked about Panama Papers audit

Minister without portfolio Konrad Mizzi refuses to answer questions related to his offshore Panama company in court sitting

Konrad Mizzi
Konrad Mizzi

Minister without portfolio Konrad Mizzi invited a lawyer to direct his questions about the nebulous audit into his Panama offshore company and New Zealand trust, to the Prime Minister.

The remarks were made from the witness stand in a sitting of a libel case Mizzi had filed against Nationalist Party deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami.

When cross-examined by lawyer Joe Zammit Maempel, Mizzi refused to reveal the name of the company auditing his finances. “Those questions should be addressed to the Prime Minister, you can speak to the Prime Minister about it,” Mizzi said.

The court was told that the audit required “serenity” and must be completed without any “undue pressures.”

Zammit Maempel explained that he only wanted the name of the company in order to verify whether the audit was taking place, and not to exert any pressure.

Replying to other questions, Mizzi said the New Zealand trust had been declared, together with his Panama company in his parliamentary declaration of assets.

Asked whether he had been fined for failing to register the trust with the Maltese tax authorities, Mizzi replied that he had only been informed “much later” that the trust had to be registered with the Inland Revenue Department.

He said he had not discussed the issue of registering the offshore trust with his financial advisers Nexia BT and one of the reasons for this was that the necessary form was not available online. Only two trusts had ever been registered in Malta, he said.

Dodging questions about why he chose to register his company in Panama, Mizzi replied that his trust had been registered in New Zealand, a signatory to the OECD, which shared information with the Maltese tax authorities. 

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