Egrant probe: Minister says resources will be offered ‘if and when requested’

Clyde Caruana commits to offer all necessary resources to investigators if Egrant probe is reopened

All necessary resources will be offered to investigators “if and when a request is made” to reopen Egrant investigations, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said on Monday.

Opposition MPs Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina posed several parliamentary questions attempting to shed light on whether investigators have reopened a probe into the Panama company Egrant.

Caruana initially declined to do so, but eventually said that his ministry will offer all the necessary resources “if and when” requested to do so.

The Times of Malta reported in September that a probe into the operations of now-shuttered Pilatus Bank recommended that further investigative steps be taken with regards to the elusive Panama company.

Maria Efimova, a former Pilatus Bank employee who is now subject to an international arrest warrant, had claimed that $1.01 million was transferred to the company Egrant, further alleging that the company was owned by Michelle Muscat, the wife of Joseph Muscat.

Despite an inquiry discrediting the claim, the report warned that further investigations should take place to verify whether the transaction took place, and recommended that Efimova be interviewed on her initial claims.

This was followed by calls for the Egrant inquiry to be reopened, prompting Joseph Muscat to go on the defensive and say he has “nothing to hide” from investigators looking to probe Egrant further.

Egrant was set up in Panama by Nexia BT shortly after the 2013 election. Offshore companies Tillgate and Hearnville, owned by Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, were set up during the same time period.