Delia requests Standards investigation into Muscat’s weekend trip to Dubai

Opposition leader Adrian Delia says prime minister must explain his private three-day family trip to Dubai

PM Jospeh Muscat has flown to Dubai in the company of his wife and children
PM Jospeh Muscat has flown to Dubai in the company of his wife and children

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia has requested the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life to investigate a breach of ethics after the prime minister refused to declare how he financed an alleged €20,000 spend to fly to Dubai over the course of three days.

Muscat and his spouse and two children flew on a business or first-class Emirates flight to Dubai on Friday 27 December, returning after three days.

Muscat has insisted the trip was his private business, refusing to speak about it to the press. “It’s none of your business. It is my personal… private funds. I think you had better ask who received those watches,” Muscat said in a reference to gifts from the Tumas business group to former ministers and government officials.

Delia also made reference to claims in the media that the Muscat family’s tickets might have been purchased in Jordan.

Muscat was also seen in the lobby of the Corinthia Hotel in London with Saad Djebbar, who has a desk at Carter Ruck, the London law firm hired to defend Muscat and other government figures over press reports on the Caruana Galizia assassination.

It was Muscat’s fourth trip abroad within a few weeks, having previously visited the Vatican City, Bethlehem and Dubai. All the trips took place after Muscat announced he would be stepping down later this month after the Labour Party elects a new leader.

Djebbar represented the widow of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Suha Arafat, who visited the Muscats in Burmarrad shortly before their trip to Bethlehem.

Djebbar, who is well networked in the Arab world, IS known to be close to the ruling family in Qatar. Five members of the Qatari royal family are among those who in 2018 acquired Maltese citizenship through the controversial cash-for-passport scheme: Sheik Mohammed Ahmed J. Al Thani, his wife Hanadi and their children Jassim, Jude and Layana.

In 2016, Al Thani set up Monifa Wings Company Limited in Malta, an aircraft broker that provides air transport services, lease aircraft and operator charter flights. Al Thani is better known as the former director-general of Al Jazeera, which he took over in September 2011. He left in 2013 upon becoming minister of the economy.