[WATCH] Busuttil claims to have ‘irrefutable’ evidence, makes himself available to magisterial inquiry

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said he wanted to inform the court that he was at its disposal and would give his information to the inquiring magistrate under oath

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said he refused to take the evidence to the police commissioner because he did not trust him
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said he refused to take the evidence to the police commissioner because he did not trust him
Busuttil claims to have ‘irrefutable’ evidence, makes himself available to magisterial inquiry

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has filed a sworn application before a magisterial inquiry this morning, repeating the allegations that he made at yesterday's press conference that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff had received kickbacks on the sale of Maltese passports through the offices of auditor Brian Tonna.

MaltaToday understands that magistrate Aaron Bugeja who is already investigating claims that Michelle Muscat owns a secret Panama company could refuse to expand his investigations to the alleged kickbacks received by Schembri. Busuttil who is yet to present evidence in court could be asked to provide this to another magistrate or file a report to the police.

Busuttil said he had received “concrete, verified and immensely sensitive information,” about “grave an unprecedented facts about the Maltese governmental administration that are the subject of the magisterial inquiry.”

The application reads that Pilatus Bank holds a bank account for Willerby Trade Inc, a British Virgin Islands registered secret shell company, whose owner had been named in the Panama Papers as Brian Tonna. On one occasio,n in the company's bank account at Pilatus, three Russian individuals made three separate payments amounting to €166,831.90 it claims. These payments should not have been made to Willerby Trade Inc as it was not the accredited agent under the Individual Investor Programme (IIP), the application reads.

It argues that IIP is promoted by the OPM where Keith Schembri works as chief of staff, thus making him a “politically exposed person par excellence.” The application stressed that Schembri, as the PM's right hand man, was benefiting from illegal commissions on the sale of Maltese citizenship.

Pilatus Bank holds an account in the name of the same Keith Schembri.

Shortly after Willerby Trade received the money from the Russians, it made two payments of €50,000 each into Schembri's Pilatus bank account, through Willerby Trade Inc's account. The PN had the names of the three Russian individuals, the application said.

Busuttil said he wanted to inform the court that he was at its disposal and would give this information and more to the inquiring magistrate under oath in order to allow the court to establish the truth in what he called “this clear case of money laundering and bribery.”

Addressing the media in front of the law courts after depositing a recourse, Busuttil said he was sure the magistrate would want to hear him and see the “irrefutable” evidence he has in his possession, confirming that the money deposited into the Willerby account came directly from the Russian individuals and not from an other company.

The opposition leader added that he refused to take the evidence to the police commissioner because he did not trust him, as evidenced by his failure once again to act on the information he revealed last night. 

He also dismissed as ridiculous claims by Schembri that the €100,000 transferred to his account from the Willerby account was simply repayment for a personal loan he had advanced to Tonna in 2012 when the latter was separating from his wife.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Kris Busietta signed the application.

By defending Schembri, Muscat becomes politically complicit - Beppe Fenech Adami

Later, PN deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami said that the magisterial inquiry that had very broad parameters, considering a magistrate had no constraints as to how far he could go to ascertain the truth.

Fenech Adami said it was unacceptable that the Prime Minister continued to defend Schembri, even after Busuttil said he had irrefutable evidence to prove Schembri's involvement in corruption.

Jason Azzopardi, Beppe Fenech Adami and Paula Mifsud Bonnici addresing the media on Simon Busuttil's application to the court
Jason Azzopardi, Beppe Fenech Adami and Paula Mifsud Bonnici addresing the media on Simon Busuttil's application to the court

"This makes Muscat at minimum, politically complicit in what is happening," he said. "Because even when faced with material evidence, he continues to defend Schembri."

PN shadow justice minister Jason Azzopardi reiterated the arguments raised by Busuttil in his recourse to the magistrate, which he presented under oath. 

Azzopardi said that Busuttil also had evidence to prove that Willerby Trade Inc. had then transferred two payments of €50,000 to an account belonging to Keith Schembri. 

Shadow social policy minister Paula Mifsud Bonnici said it was by now evident that Muscat and Schembri were covering each other's backs. 

She said that the proof that Egrant, a secret company registered in Panama, did belong to the Prime Minister's wife, Michelle, was in the behaviour of the Prime Minister and those around him, who were continuing to lie despite all the evidence. 

Mifsud Bonnici said Muscat had lied outrageously in trying to brush aside the transcript of a declaration of trust, published by columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia, which identified Michelle Muscat as the ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant.            

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