Updated | Labour Party accuses David Casa of hypocrisy after he threatened MaltaToday with legal action

The Labour Party has accused David Casa of hypocrisy after the PN MEP took umbrage over a story published last Sunday that revealed how he employed relatives as parliamentary assistants • Casa insists he did nothing wrong

PN MEP David Casa
PN MEP David Casa

Updated at 7pm

David Casa has come under fire from the Labour Party for threatening MaltaToday with legal action over a story published last Sunday.

MaltaToday reported how the PN MEP employed relatives as parliamentary assistants, a decision he insisted was not in breach of EU regulations.

READ ALSO: Nationalist MEP David Casa puts uncle and brother-in-law on EP payroll

Casa told MaltaToday he would resort to legal action to protect his reputation if the newspaper went ahead and published the story.

The Labour Party on Monday decried the PN MEPs “dishonesty and hypocrisy” when threatening MaltaToday with legal action.

Casa retorted that his work “must be hitting a nerve”, insisting the newspaper story was “part of a concerted and sustained effort by the Labour Party to silence its critics”.

The PL said that just a few weeks ago, Casa had vigorously defended the work of journalists in the European Parliament and slamming SLAPP lawsuits.

“And yet, the moment a newspaper published a story that exposed his own wrong doing, MEP Casa was quick to resort to legal threats in order to gag the newspaper and prohibit it from reporting facts which he did not wish to be publicly known,” the PL said.

Taking a pot shot at Casa’s repeated criticism that freedom of speech in Malta has been eroded, the PL said that the PN MEP’s defence of investigative journalism stopped when the stories concerned him specifically.

“MEP Casa goes to great lengths to preach about the importance of public standards such as transparency, honesty, and of being held accountable by investigative journalists… Instead of trying to threaten and intimidate journalists simply for publishing facts which make him uncomfortable, he would do well to live up to his own standards, and start coming up with answers,” the PL said.

Casa insists everything is above board

The PN MEP insisted on Monday that there was nothing irregular, illegal or anything that raised ethical concerns in the employment of two relatives.

He said the published story was “contorted” because it implied he broke EU rules when this was not the case.

Casa said that over the last month, he was threatened with legal action by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit after publishing a leaked report that called for police action against Konrad Mizzi.

“I have also been threatened with legal action by Keith Schembri’s lawyers who represent the notorious Pilatus Bank. And I have been the target of a hate campaign culminating last week with Labour Party activists calling for me to be hanged,” Casa said.

He reiterated his stand in favour of greater protection for journalists but insistsed the MaltaToday story was not the result of investigative journalism.

“Still, it is ludicrous to claim that I threatened Saviour Balzan’s MaltaToday. I stated that if they publish a story they know to be untrue I will take measures to protect my reputation... The desperate efforts to circulate this non-story are both tedious and nauseating," Casa said, adding that his work was upsetting many people in the PL.

PL candidate asks for EU investigation

Alex Saliba, a Labour Party candidate for the European Parliament elections next year, has written to the president of the EP and the EU Ombudsman, asking for an investigation into Casa's decision to employ relatives.

In a letter to EP President Antonio Tajani, which was also copied to EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, Saliba referred to the MaltaToday report and called for an investigation into how Casa was utilising European funds.

"As a European citizen I firmly believe that such cases harm the European Parliament’s credibility. Therefore I do believe that this case must be investigated as soon as possible," Saliba said.

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