PM won’t speculate on Russian link, insists he received ‘specific’ information on meddling

On allegations that Russia may be meddling with Maltese elections, Prime Minister reiterates that he had received prior information from foreign intelligence agencies of possible external influence

Labour leader Joseph Muscat during a press conference at Buskett
Labour leader Joseph Muscat during a press conference at Buskett

24 hours after a French specialist website claimed that Russia may have an interest in meddling with Malta's elections, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has reiterated that the government had already received "a warning" to expect retribution from Russia on a number of foreign policy decisions.

Asked about the fact that citizens were finding the claims that a Russian whistleblower in the Egrant affair was part of "a bigger plan" to destabilize the general elections hard to believe, Muscat said that he could only confirm that foreign secret service agencies had warned the government of some sort of external meddling in Maltese politics.

He was repeatedly ask whether he personally believed that the whistleblower could be a spy, but Muscat maintained the same reply: "The allegations were published by a foreign source and I was asked whether I was aware of the allegations. I am a Prime Minister: I don't play around with issues. During the press conference I could have either denied knowledge of the allegation or admit it. I chose to tell the truth. I will not speculate."

He said the government had at first received generic information from allies, and later "more specific" information.

Muscat maintained that the Egrant allegation was "a calumny".

"There is no proof and I repeat that I will resign if the inquiry finds any shred of evidence. I don't know when the inquiry will be published but I will publish it."

As to the latest ruling by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, Muscat said the court had ordered for the court decree not to be published.

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