Arnold Cassola fires salvo at PN’s conflicts of interest

After Simon Busuttil declares that politicians should have no conflicts of interest, Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Arnold Cassola questions whether Ann Fenech’s legal firm ‘would stop selling Maltese citizenship, as Henley and Partners’ sub-agent’

Alternattiva Demokratika leader Arnold Cassola
Alternattiva Demokratika leader Arnold Cassola

Green Party chairman Arnold Cassola has fired a salvo against Simon Busuttil’s declaration that politicians cannot have any conflicts of interest, questioning whether the PN leader would now walk the talk among his party’s officials and MPs.

In a Facebook post published after MaltaToday reported that PN deputy leader Mario de Marco had renounced his position as legal advisor to the db Group – the firm behind the mega development earmarked at St George’s Bay – Cassola, the chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika, questioned whether Busuttil would be applying the same yardstick with Nationalist MP Francis Zammit Dimech and PN executive president Ann Fenech.

 

“Is Francis Zammit Dimech still [a] director of [Silvio] Debono’s Seabank? Is Ann Fenech’s company going to stop selling Maltese citizenship, as Henley and Partners’ sub-agent?” Cassola asked.

Fenech’s law firm, Fenech & Fenech Advocates, had been granted a licence to act as an introducer of potential applicants for the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) – the maligned citizenship scheme that has been heavily derided by the Nationalist Party.

Similarly, Nationalist MP Francis Zammit Dimech was legal consultant to Arton Capital Inc, which had filed judicial proceedings appealing against the Government’s decision to choose Henley and Partners as the concessionaries of the IIP. Moreover, the former PN minister had been revealed to be a director of Seabank Hotel and Catering Limited, and was among eight charged with the involuntary homicide of a Latvian worker who died during the construction of the Mellieha hotel in 2012.

The MP was subsequently acquitted of the charges.

Cassola’s remarks were made after earlier today, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil declared that politicians having a conflict of interest between their personal or business interests and those of the party whom they represent have no place in politics and must choose.

“Whenever there is a conflict of interest involving politicians, the politicians must choose between the interests of his own and those of the party. Mario de Marco did just that and he chose the PN,” Busuttil told PN supporters today.

Busuttil’s declaration was made after PN deputy leader Mario de Marco, whose party has in parliament raised questions over the €60 million price tag for the transfer of the ITS site in St George’s Bay to the db Group, confirmed with MaltaToday that he had attended several meetings dealing with the concession of the land, including meetings held at Castille.

MaltaToday had also revealed that De Marco’s firm was engaged by SD Finance plc – a newly created public limited company owned by the developers of the DB San Gorg – which is expected to serve as the vehicle to raise public funds for the Hard Rock Hotel and luxury property.

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