Muscat, Mizzi and five others to be defendants in Busuttil Constitutional case

The seven public figures involved in the Panama appeals are to join in the constitutional suit filed by Simon Busuttil against the AG

A judge has upheld the Attorney General's request, that the seven public figures involved in the Panama appeals be joined in the constitutional suit filed by Simon Busuttil against the AG, after judge Antonio Mizzi decided to continue to hear the appeals, in spite of objections.

The decision was delivered this morning by The First Hall, Civil Court, presided by judge Joseph Zammit McKeon in the acts of a request filed by lawyer Victoria Buttigieg from the Office of the Attorney General earlier in November.

The upshot of the court's decision is that the seven: Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, together with businessmen Brian Tonna, Karl Cini, Malcolm Scerri and Adrian Hillman, who filed an appeal from a magistrate's finding of grounds to launch an investigation linked to the Panama Papers, into their dealings, will now join the suit instituted by Dr Busuttil.

Former PN Leader Simon Busuttil called upon the court to launch an investigation into several high profile Maltese figures mentioned in the Panama Papers leak.

Magistrate Ian Farrugia, presiding over the case, decreed that the prerequisites for an inquiry were present and green lit the magisterial inquiry to establish whether money-laundering laws had been breached by government officials when opening offshore companies in Panama. 

However, the seven subjects of the inquiry had then filed separate appeals, slowing down the process considerably..

The appeals were assigned to be heard by judge Antonio Mizzi, which in turn, prompted Busuttil to challenge the judge's suitability to hear this case on the grounds that the Judge’s wife, Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi, publicly expressed an opinion on the Panama Papers scandal.

Mizzi, however, refused to step aside.

Busuttil had then filed constitutional proceedings claiming his right to a fair hearing had been breached and requesting that the appeals be assigned to another judge.

The case continues in January.