Prime Minister’s spouse speaks out: Egrant affair has scarred us for life

Michelle Muscat says she will let ‘rule of law’ take its course to find who fabricated Egrant documentation

The Muscat family: toasting the 2017 electoral success, with a magisterial inquiry still open
The Muscat family: toasting the 2017 electoral success, with a magisterial inquiry still open

The wife of Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat has issued a statement on the aftermath of the Egrant affair, which she described as a “deceitful conspiracy” that has scarred her family for life.

“The result of the inquiry is no cause for celebration, since we would have preferred not to go through all this in the first place. But it is cause for relief, since what we knew from the very first moment, is now certified, and there for everyone to see,” Muscat said.

Muscat was targeted by the late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as being the owner of a secret Panamanian company that had received over $1 million from the daughter of Azerbaijani ruler Ilham Aliyev. A 15-month magisterial investigation said the allegations were unproven and documents claiming the ownership of the company had been falsified.

“The pain will not just go away. Our family has suffered, and we were deeply affected on a personal and human level. Just imagine sitting down, as parents, with your 10-year-old daughters, explaining that what they were reading, watching, and hearing was simply not true. Fielding questions on what happens if we are taken to prison. Asking what exactly is an ‘istitut’ [a euphemism for orphanage] since they read that someone suggested that they, our children, should be taken from us.

“We had to discuss how to deal with television crews and photographers who were hounding us everywhere, and how to react in a dignified manner at school and elsewhere, when necessary.”

Muscat has suggested she will take legal action and that she expects the institutions to identity who had forged documents to try to implicate her family. “As private citizens, we will sit down with our lawyers to decide a course of action. I do hope nobody will object to us doing so according to the rule of law. This will give us nothing back, but there is not one parent I know who would not do so if their family had gone through what we did.”

Muscat was often derided by Caruana Galizia over her public persona as a philanthropist. “Some might also believe that I am some sort of heartless, vain woman, as the decade-long character assassination campaign targeting me personally goes at length to depict. But the scar that this deceitful conspiracy left on me personally, and on us as a family, has marked us for life. It is the basis for many decisions we have taken over the past 15 months, and those in the months to come.”

Muscat thanked those who had supported her and said she appreciated the sentiment of those who had now believed they were “conned into believing the biggest lie in Maltese political history.”

She said she would now devote her energy to the charity Marigold Foundation which she runs, which includes a rare diseases charity.

“Equally, my heart goes out to friends, like Michelle Buttigieg, whose reputation was tarnished simply because they are my friends, from way before we entered public life,” she said referring to her former business partner who was also falsely accused by Caruana Galizia of having received cash from a Pilatus Bank transaction.

“We have gone through this ordeal in the most serene manner possible not because we are perfect, but because we work hard to have a strong family. We found no help whatsoever from institutions who should know better. Those who stand for the protection of children shied away from pronouncing themselves on the way our daughters were being smeared. Those who usually have a lot to say about everything, never had a word to say to us, neither in private let alone in public, neither before nor after. Not that we expected any better.”