Egrant inquiry cost €1.3 million, possibly most expensive in history

Sources close to the court have described the Egrant inquiry as 'the most expensive ever conducted in Malta’s legal history'

A 15-month-long inquiry that took Magistrate Aaron Bugeja to two different countries and saw him use foreign experts to unravel the Egrant fabrication has cost €1.3 million
A 15-month-long inquiry that took Magistrate Aaron Bugeja to two different countries and saw him use foreign experts to unravel the Egrant fabrication has cost €1.3 million

A 15-month-long inquiry that took Magistrate Aaron Bugeja to two different countries and saw him use foreign experts to unravel the Egrant fabrication has cost €1.3 million.

By 24 July, payments made in relation to the Egrant inquiry had totalled €1,257,759, according to the directorate general of the law courts.

Bugeja was tasked to investigate the allegations made on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog in April last year that Egrant Inc. belonged to Michelle Muscat, the Prime Minister’s wife, and that she had received $1 million from Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.

The inquiry found that none of the reported assertions were true.

The directorate general said Magistrate Bugeja was from the start, given full and unrestrained access to funds as deemed necessary.

Although no records exist as to the expenses for individual inquiries, sources close to the court have described the Egrant inquiry as “the most expensive ever conducted in Malta’s legal history”.

A recent air crash inquiry cost €220,000, while the inquiry into the Paqpaqli incident of 2015 is believed to have cost €17,000.

The expenses include visits made by Magistrate Bugeja in two different countries as part of his meticulous probe into the allegations.

In all four countries collaborated in the inquiry – Panama, Belgium, Germany and the US. The magistrate also used 14 different experts or expert firms, including a forensic accountant and forgery specialists to determine the veracity or otherwise of the documents he was presented with.

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe