Muscat hits back at LIBE report: ‘No corruption accusations against me’

Former PM Joseph Muscat says claims by MEPs that he remains ‘unprosecuted’ for corruption is unsubstantiated and demands rectification

Joseph Muscat posted a video on his Facebook page after a police search at his house which he said was “heavy-handed”
Joseph Muscat posted a video on his Facebook page after a police search at his house which he said was “heavy-handed”

Former prime minister Joseph Muscat has accused the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee’s MEPs of making “unsubstantiated” statements which he said are taken out of political context and presented as “facts in the judicial sphere”.

In a letter penned by lawyers Pawlu Lia and Charlon Gouder, Muscat took issue with the LIBE committee MEPs who reported their concern about “impunity afforded to... Muscat” as well as his former chief of staff Keith Schembri and former minister Konrad Mizzi over evidence of corruption.

The report is part of a follow-up delegation on rule of law in Malta that took place ealier this year. Muscat resigned in disgrace in December 2019 after magnate Yorgen Fenech was arrested and charged with masterminding the Caruana Galizia murder, leading to the instant resignation of his secret business partner, Keith Schembri.

“We object at the unfounded assertion made with regards to Dr Muscat given that it is completely baseless,” Muscat’s lawyers said.

In its conclusions of the report, the delegation said Muscat, Mizzi and Schembri remained “unprosecuted for serious and substantiated evidence of corruption, including through NAO and FIAU reports and evidence published by the late Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

But Muscat hit back saying there was no NAO report mentioning him in, no FIAU report pinpointing him, and that the only time Caruana Galizia accused Muscat was in the context of the Egrant affair.

“A fully fledged inquiry by an independent magistrate was conducted and found that not only were claims unsubstantiated but that documents were fabricated and signatures forged by third parties in an attempt to frame Dr Muscat and his wife,” Muscat’s lawyers said. “Moreover, there is no ‘substantiated evidence of corruption’ anywhere in the public domain or elsewhere in regards to Dr Muscat.”

Muscat added that he was subjected to a heavy-handed, early morning police search in his home, pointing out that his minor daughters’ mobile phones were also confiscated.

“This search was widely discussed in political circles antagonistic to Dr Muscat before it took place, something which is documented, while the person who filed the request for investigation was positioned outside the property observing the supposedly secret operation,” Muscat’s lawyers wrote.

“All this undermines the rule of law and any credibility which is necessary for such an investigation to be taken seriously, and indicates considerable political undertones, especially when Dr Muscat himself had requested to testify in the said inquiry to no avail.”

Muscat, a former MEP, said he accepted the LIBE committee’s role in making political assessments, but accused it of making “unsubstantiated statements taken out of the political context and put as facts in the judicial sphere.”

“Furthermore, this statement potentially prejudices Dr Muscat’s fundamental rights and can be used by political players to exert undue pressure on institutions to conform with the delegation's position even if no such situation exists.

“Thus, we ask you to rectify the situation with immediate effect to reflect the above in order to be not only politically, but also legally and factually correct.”

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