Updated | Busuttil calls for magisterial inquiry into Mizzi, Schembri for money laundering

Simon Busuttil: 'The election result shouldn’t be used as an excuse to sweep crimes under the carpet' • Keith Schembri set to take 'the necessary legal action' against Busuttil

Outgoing PN leader Simon Busuttil has formally asked the courts to open a magisterial inquiry against tourism minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri over potential money laundering linked to their Panama companies.

“I have taken this step to ensure that justice is done, given that the police and the Attorney General didn’t do their jobs,” Busuttil said. “The election result doesn’t mean that justice should not be served, and it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to sweep crimes under the carpet.

“I will keep on fighting to ensure that justice reigns supreme in this country and that the law applies equally for everyone, just as I have always done.”

The court application, signed by shadow justice minister Jason Azzopardi and lawyer Kris Busietta, lists a sequence of events starting from Mizzi’s and Schembri’s appointments in March 2017.

The list ends with a statement by Werner Langen, the chair of the European Parliament’s Panama Papers committee, who had said during a visit to Malta in February that Mizzi’s and Schembri’s situations were a “textbook case of money laundering”.

A magisterial inquiry is already underway into allegations that the Prime Minister’s wife owns the offshore Panama company Egrant. Two other magistrates are separately investigating claims that Keith Schembri had taken kickbacks.

In a reaction, the Tourism Minister reiterated that the Trust and Company set up never held any bank accounts and never received any funds from anywhere in the world.

"This is a fact which cannot be disputed, and claims to the contrary are outright lies. A published audit by Crowe Horwath International is testament to this. This will strengthen the resolve of Dr Mizzi to work harder to improve the performance of areas under his responsibility including tourism and to transform Air Malta, as he did in the energy and health sectors," the Tourism Ministry said in a statement.

In a separate reaction, Schembri described Busuttil’s application as “an unsustainable legal action and weak political attempt to save his political career”.

Schembri argued that it was unsustainable because the request in the court application is already the subject of other inquiries which have been initiated on Busuttil’s own request.

“In other words, Busuttil is asking for an investigation that is already underway… at least he hasn’t used the empty boxes stunt, this time round,” Schembri said.

Schembri claimed that Busuttil’s action was to create a pretext allowing him to submit his nomination for the PN leadership.

“I will not allow any more lies and I will be taking the necessary legal action against Busuttil.”

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