Busuttil says Muscat has conflict of interest in magisterial inquiry ‘cover-up’

Simon Busuttil accuses the Prime Minister of lying five times in 24 hours

PN leader Simon Busuttil has dismissed the magisterial inquiry as a 'colossal cover-up'
PN leader Simon Busuttil has dismissed the magisterial inquiry as a 'colossal cover-up'

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has dismissed as part of a “colossal cover-up” a magisterial inquiry that has been launched to investigate allegations that the Prime Minister’s wife is the holder of a share in the Panamanian offshore company Egrant Inc.

Addressing a press conference, Busuttil said that the inquiry cannot be expected to uncover any damning evidence, as the police had failed to instantly raid the offices of Pilatus Bank as soon as the allegations were published on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog.

He noted that the bank’s chairman Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad and another bank employee were filmed exiting the back door of the Whitehall Mansions in Ta’ Xbiex – where the bank is headquartered – carrying two suitcases.

“After they removed the evidence, Muscat decided to call for a magisterial inquiry. It’s like asking the police to investigate a murder after the body has been removed from the crime scene.

“We will not play a part in such a colossal cover-up. It was Muscat’s responsibility to ensure that the crime scene wasn’t tampered with and he should have called in the police instantly. However, he didn’t do that because if the police found proof it would have incriminated him.”

Busuttil said he has full faith in the independence and integrity of the inquiring magistrate Aaron Bugeja, but that this means nothing as he cannot be expected to find any proof

He said that Muscat has an enormous conflict of interest, between his duty as Prime Minister to ensure that justice takes place and his role as a suspect in the magisterial inquiry.

“How can a Prime Minister ensure that the investigations will be a serious one if he is being investigated himself?” he asked.  

He also said that he cannot trust Pilatus Bank, arguing that it should never have been issued a license in the first place as its owner is from Iran - a country that Malta, as an EU member state, has imposed sanctions on. 

In addition to this, Busuttil accused Muscat of lying five times in 24 hours.

He rejected the Prime Minister’s assertion that the document must be fake since a Panamanian company cannot have an address outside of Panama, pointing out that the address was the same as the one listed for the companies Hearnville Inc. and Tillgate Inc., owned by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri respectively.

Secondly, he said that Muscat’s claims about the sale of shares was also a lie.

“The document revealed is a declaration of trust and is not a document of sale,” said Busuttil. “It simply says who the owner of the company is.”

According to Busuttil, Muscat’s third and biggest lie was in stating that Brian Tonna was the owner of the company.

“Panama’s register of companies makes it clear that Egrant shareholders are Dubro Ltd and Aliator,” said Busuttil, adding that the two companies were the same companies named by Caruana Galizia. He said it was not true that Tonna was the owner of the companies since the two companies were listed as the owners up until the date they were liquidated.

Muscat’s fourth lie, said Busuttil, was his instance that the supposed transcript stated that his wife’s place of birth was Rabat when it was in fact Attard. Busuttil said that given that her ID card states that she was born in Rabat, whoever put down her name had access to her ID card.

Finally, he said that while Muscat claimed that the transcript’s authenticity could also be challenged on the basis of there being no ID card or passport number, a declaration of trust does not require an ID card number, something experts could attest to.

 

Labour Party reaction

In a reaction to the press conference the Labour Party said that despite a two-year campaign in which he has made various allegations, Simon Busuttil has still not provided any evidence to substantiate his claims.

“Up until yesterday Busuttil was saying that the supposed proof from the safe had been taken away in a suitcase. Today it was revealed that the safe never existed, and the new claim is that proof was removed last year,” read a statement.  

"Now that he's been caught lying, he's launching attacks against an inquiry, as he does everytime things don't go his way, while his friend [Daphne Caruana Galizia] refuses to testify, because she cannot document her lies." 

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