Evarist Bartolo reticent over Panama affair

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo says there are ‘massive volumes of information’ to sift through

Education minister Evarist Bartolo
Education minister Evarist Bartolo

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo was reticent about his opinion on whether his Cabinet colleague Konrad Mizzi should resign, although admitting that his position on the matter was already known.

“There are massive volumes of information to sift through and analyse, but at this stage I cannot add anything to what I have already said,” Bartolo told MaltaToday, adding that he had always been forthcoming with his opinions on the matter.

He went on to add that, as a lecturer and a former journalist, he was keen about the revelations behind Panama Papers.

When news first emerged of Mizzi’s offshore trust and company, Bartolo had taken to Facebook to post a quote from a 1929 article written by former Labour leader Guze Ellul Mercer entitled ‘Why I militate in the Workers’ Party’.

“On days like these, I recall Ġużè Ellul Mercer’s words,” Bartolo wrote in the post. The quoted excerpt then explains Ellul Mercer’s reasons for joining the Labour Party: “I am in the Workers’ Party because this party is not built on the weak foundations of its leader’s skills but on a higher ideal – the belief that who is born human, should live as human, work as human and eat as human, irrespective of whether he is born to a rich or poor family.”

The leak of 11.5 million documents pertaining to Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, has been termed one of the biggest ever leaks. It revealed the hidden wealth of some of the world’s leaders, politicians and celebrities.

The leak confirmed Mizzi’s Panamanian shell company, Hearnville, to hide his beneficial ownership; the company is owned by the trustees of his New Zealand trust.

Although using offshore structures is entirely legal, the global rich use such financial vehicles for reasons of inheritance and estate planning, or to stash away assets from tax authorities.
Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca is the world’s fourth biggest provider of offshore services, having for more than 300,000 companies.