Update 2 | Former PN minister confirms Swiss bank account, cash repatriated to Malta

PN leader Simon Busuttil suspends Ninu Zammit over HSBC account • Former minister regularised financial position through 2014 investment repatriation scheme, denies involvement in oil corruption scandal

Former PN minister Ninu Zammit has been suspended over his alleged involvement in the Swiss leaks scandal.
Former PN minister Ninu Zammit has been suspended over his alleged involvement in the Swiss leaks scandal.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said today that former minister Ninu Zammit had been suspended with immediate effect from the party over reports that he held undeclared cash in at HSBC Geneva.

In a statement, the former minister confirmed to having held an account at HSBC Geneva, and insisted that the cash has since been repatriated to Malta through the government's amnesty scheme in 2014.

“During the latter years of the 1970s I started depositing money generated through my profession and my business in the property market. These deposits were eventually transferred in an account at HSBC Geneve,” Zammit said in a statement.

Zammit also underlined that he did not deposit any other monies since, and insisted that his tax returns are all “in order and in line with the law.”

“Through the repatriation amnesty scheme offered by this government in 2014, I applied and was given compliance after successfully passing a rigorous scrutiny. I paid the taxes and the penalties due, and thus, regularised my fiscal position.”

“I therefore insists that at present, I do not have any bank account overseas,” he said.

Zammit categorically denied any involvement in the procurement of oil after the Malta Independent on Sunday claimed that Zammit enjoyed a "very close" relationship with former Enemalta consultant Frank Sammut. Sammut is currently undergoing criminal proceedings after being charged with corruption for his alleged part in the oil scandal.

“A local newspaper is trying to associate me to the oil procurement scandal, and as a result, I insist that even though I was responsible of the development of MOBC, I categorically deny any involvement in the MOCS’s or Enemalta’s purchasing or sale of oil,” he continued.

In less than 24 hours, PN leader Simon Busuttil suspended two former Nationalist ministers from his party after it transpired that they held Swiss bank accounts. Both Michael Falzon, a member of the PN executive, and Zammit, said that there position has already been reguralised.

Swiss bank account holders have been the focus on intense media investigation since a leaked clients’ list of Geneva’s HSBC Banque Privee that was given to French police revealed over €600 million Maltese cash stashed at the Swiss bank.

“My position remains clear, People in public office or in political positions - whoever they may be - must come clean on Swissleaks and carry their responsibility at law,” Busuttil said today.

“Any person on these lists who has or had any official connection with the Nationalist Party should consider himself suspended immediately from the party.”

In 2013 in the run-up to the general election, former PN minister Austin Gatt had declared that he holds a Swiss bank account after he inherited it from his late parents. Gatt had also stated that he had not made any deposits in it, and also distanced himself from being connected “with any criminal activity, particularly the ongoing Enemalta investigation” into the oil procurement scandal.

Ninu Zammit served as a parliamentary secretary for water and energy between 1987 and 1992, and was a minister for agriculture in 1998 and a minister for resources and infrastructure between 2003 and 2008 before resigning from active politics in 2013.