‘Judge me by audit facts, not through trial by media’ – Konrad Mizzi

Energy minister Konrad Mizzi says he is facing a 'trial by media' over Panama Papers, insists ICIJ leak 'proves he had told the truth about his financial set-ups from the start'

Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi
Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi

Energy and health minister Konrad Mizzi claimed he is “facing a trial by media” over revelations that he owns an offshore company in Panama.

“I accept this trial by media, which I accept because I am a pubic figure,” he told Parliament during a debate on a no confidence motion against the government.

 “However, I don’t want to be judged through this trial, by misleading facts, e-mail extracts and e-mails that are completely unrelated to me.

“I would rather await the results of the independent audit and the tax audit, the latter which I requested myself in what was an unprecedented move in local politics.”

He questioned why an article by journalist Neil Chenoweth was uploaded on the Australian Financial Review earlier today, during the middle of the night in Australian time.

“Was it uploaded at the time so as to coincide with tonight’s motion?” he questioned.

He said he was angry that the Panama Papers leak had diverted public attention away from the government’s work “After all that work, I am angry that all the focus has been shifted away from the government’s work and onto the Panama Papers.”

Mizzi reiterated that his choice of Panama for his company “could have been better” but insisted that he was consistent in his story throughout.

“The trust is a family trust, whose ultimate beneficiaries are my wife and my children,” he said. “The aim was for the trust to manage my properties and any future investments, and I enlisted professionals to manage my financial set-ups.”

He said that his version of events was confirmed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – that his New Zealand trust was a family trust, and that neither the trust or the company had any money deposited within them, or were linked to any bank accounts.

Mizzi spent the rest of his speech detailing the Labour government’s achievements and future plans for the energy and health sectors.

These included the completion of the LNG power station in Delimara, a multi-million investment into a project that will convert drainage water into water for farmers to use instead of boreholes, and the closure of the Mount Carmel mental hospital.

As PL deputy leader, he added that Labour is working on a new electoral manifesto that will “push the boundaries on civil liberties, transport, energy and governance”.

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