Franco Debono says Egrant must belong to Prime Minister or someone close to him

‘Daphne had enough material to destroy the Labour Party’

Former Nationalist MP Franco Debono said the circumstantial evidence at hand 'makes it reasonable to believe Egrant belongs to the Prime Minister or someone close to him'
Former Nationalist MP Franco Debono said the circumstantial evidence at hand 'makes it reasonable to believe Egrant belongs to the Prime Minister or someone close to him'

Former Nationalist MP has said that, given the circumstantial evidence in the public domain, it is reasonable for one to assume that Egrant belongs to the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat “or someone close to him”.

“When Pawlu Lia [Muscat’s lawyer] wants he can sue me for libel, but from all the facts in the public domain one has the right to arrive at the political conclusion and argue that given the circumstantial evidence Egrant belongs to Joseph Musact or someone close to him.”

Writing in his blog, the criminal lawyer and current Law Commissioner said that rather than being a closed chapter, the secret Panamanian company will feature heavily in the upcoming MEP elections.

Muscat yesterday said in court that he would be willing to drop libel proceedings against Caruana Galizia’s heirs if they accepted the findings of a magisterial inquiry into the allegations.

“Muscat should stop playing hide and seek. I’ve known him since Form 2C and I’ve never known him to be particularly brilliant,” Debono wrote. “We appreciate that this is a controversial situation but all these delays and beating around the bush is tiring everyone out.”  

The public was made aware of the existence of the company through the Panama Papers leak, with assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia claiming one year later that company belonged to the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle.

A 17-month long magisterial inquiry concluded that there was no evidence to substantiate the claim that the company belonged to Muscat and could not trace an alleged $1 million payment to the company by the daughter of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

The 1451-page report’s conclusions were published back in July with Muscat stating that he intended to published the full report in due course, however to date this has not yet happened.

Legal certainty not required for a political judgement

Despite the government’s insistence that the inquiry settled the Egrant debate, Debono stressed that while this might be true from a legal perspective, this is not the case politically.

“The truth is Daphne had enough evidence to destroy Labour. I say this metaphorically and with great respect,” he said

What Caruana Galizia didn’t have, Debono argued, was a strategy and enough knowledge of the justice system.

Debono said that given all that has happened, intelligent voters were able to see the difference between legal certainty and political judgement based on circumstantial evidence.

This, he said, could determine whether one voted for the Labour Party or not. “I am using this as an example because for one to pass a political judgement, there is no need for all the pieces of the puzzle.”  

He went on to say that unlike what many believed, the Maltese public was not gullible and circumstantial evidence is enough for intelligent voters.

Ultimately, Debono said that unless there is a proper investigation into who owns Egrant, such an argument would remain valid. He said it was in Muscat’s interest for there to be an investigation into who owns the company. 

“The Egrant inquiry didn’t find who Egrant belongs to nor did it find who it doesn’t belong to, because it seems as though it excluded no one. All it found was what it didn’t find…so till this day, all we know is that nobody is excluded.”  

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