Mizzi sues newspaper reporting Fonseca interview on PEP status

Mossack Fonseca co-founder Ramon Fonseca Mora was reported in La Estrella de Panama of claiming that a Maltese client failed to inform his law firm of his political role

Ramón Fonseca Mora is co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama with more than 40 offices worldwide
Ramón Fonseca Mora is co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama with more than 40 offices worldwide

Energy minister Konrad Mizzi has filed a libel suit against The Malta Independent, over reports in the newspaper claiming he did not declare his status as a politically exposed person when setting up an offshore company in Panama.

The newspaper based its report on an interview with Mossack Fonseca co-founder Ramon Fonseca in the Panamanian newspaper La Estrella de Panama.

Although Fonseca mentions no names, he states that: “A man asked to set up a company for his family. It escaped us that he is a politician, but we no longer do companies for politicians. But there’s nothing wrong with it. The Opposition is accusing him, and he says he is being investigated. We were asked by a lawyer to set up a company and a trust in New Zealand, because it our expertise. It’s again, more of the same.”

Mizzi unequivocally stated that as part of the client engagement and due diligence process, he duly reported his status as a politically exposed person. “The article in The Malta Independent is misleading and false. Dr Mizzi is filing a libel suit against The Malta Independent.”

According to reports in the Australian Financial Review, requests by Mossack Fonseca to open bank accounts in Dubai and then in Panama were in fact turned down because of Konrad Mizzi's PEP status.

Mossack Fonseca is at the heart of the world’s biggest data leak, with some 11 million documents, which date back four decades connected to one of the worlds leading law firms in helping clients incorporate firms in offshore jurisdictions.

The leaks confirmed the existence of Mizzi’s offshore company Hearnville Inc, which was acquired for him by a Mossack Fonseca firm, ATC Administrators.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which coordinated the yearlong investigation into the leaked documents, described Mossack Fonseca as "one of the world's five biggest wholesalers of offshore secrecy."

More in National