Updated | Muscat sees 'nothing wrong' in Mizzi's Panama company

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat accuses press of 'getting information from hate blogs' • PN insist Muscat 'not saying the whole truth' • Labour says Busuttil 'scared' to repeat his allegations against Mizzi outside Parliament  

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat today insisted there's nothing wrong with energy and health minister Konrad Mizzi having a company in Panama, which is widely regarded as a tax haven.

Accusing the press of “getting their information from hate blogs”, Muscat said that Mizzi registered a company in Panama and created a trust in New Zealand because of his particular situation, which he said was down to him owning a property in London.

He was speaking during a visit to the University Students’ Council’s Career and Research Fair.

Dodging questions from journalists quizzing him on whether he is happy with the situation, Muscat turned the tables on the opposition and said that PN leader Simon Busuttil was previously involved in a company which facilitated the creation of trusts abroad. Moreover, he brought a parallel with former PN minister Austin Gatt who for years failed to declare a bank account in Switzerland.

“If Mizzi did not declare the trust, as Austin Gatt failed to declare his account, there would have been a problem but Mizzi will be declaring it at the first opportunity, so I see nothing wrong at all,” Muscat said.

The Nationalist Party in a statement said that Muscat "defied basic decency" by defending Konrad Mizzi.  "Konrad Mizzi holds a secret company in Panama and a secret trust in New Zealand," the PN said. "The Prime Minister is not saying the whole truth. A half-truth is as bad as a lie." 

The Labour Party responding by reiterating its call on Opposition leader Simon Busuttil to repeat allegations he had made in Wednesday outside Parliament.

“Over fifteen hours have passed since Busuttil was challenged to repeat his defamatory, misleading and irresponsible comments outside Parliament,” the PL said. “He is scared and has chosen to hide behind his parliamentary privilege so as to escape shouldering responsibility.”

Busuttil had said it was shocking that Mizzi had a company registered in Panama, “a country synonymous with tax evasion and money laundering”.

“This company and this trust fund were registered after he became minister…because trust for this government means a bag of money in New Zealand,” he said.  

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