Mizzi sues Times for libel over Nicaraguan corruption association

Energy minister sues newspaper for libel over report saying Panama firm shareholder is linked with other Panama companies involved in major corruption scandals

Energy minister Konrad Mizzi
Energy minister Konrad Mizzi

Energy minister Konrad Mizzi has announced he will sue The Times of Malta for libel, after the newspaper reported on its front page that one of his Panama company’s directors was linked to a corruption scandal.

The front page report ‘Investor in Mizzi firm linked to corruption’ specified that one of Hearnville Inc’s shareholders, Mossack Fonseca employee Leticia Montoya Moran, was also linked with another firm used by former Nicaraguan president Arnold Alemán to divert some €87 million in state funds to his account.

Montoya Moran is an employee whose name appears as a director or shareholder in at least 10,000 shell companies.

Montoya Moran is revealed as the signatory on a certificate showing Konrad Mizzi as the beneficial owner of Hearnville Inc. [DOWNLOAD PDF]

Mizzi, who is under pressure by revelations of his own Panama firm, said that the report was “riddled with lies and outright fabrications.”

Mizzi said the only shareholders of Hearnville Inc. are Orion Trust (New Zealand) Limited, which act as the trustees of his offshore New Zealand trust Rotorua, and that there are no other shareholders, or investors in the company, “which as confirmed has no funds or bank accounts.”

Mizzi’s handlers at one point had attempted to open a bank account first in Dubai, and then in Panama, which request was refused only because bankers released that Mizzi was a political exposed person.

“Contrary to the statements made in this article, the revelations made by ICIJ and the documentation published concerning the matter have completely vindicated the facts as freely and willingly divulged by me, and I am satisfied with the rigour and honesty that they have treated the information disclosed,” Mizzi insisted.

“It is unfortunate that the Times has not acted with the same rigour and honesty,” he added.

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