Socialist MEP Ana Gomes has asked the European Union’s law enforcement agency – Europol – to investigate a fake news portal and uncover who is behind the slander which has been spread by Maltese Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar.
On Tuesday, The Shift News revealed that the website accusing Gomes of having “murky ties to a global fraudster” was an online portal on which several alarms have been raised. However, this has not deterred Labour Party officials in Malta to spread the fake news to discredit their socialist counterpart in Brussels.
“It happens that, as soon as the defamatory content was published on the site, purporting to connect me to fraudulent activities, some members of the Maltese ruling party used this to slander me by further disseminating it, namely MP Rosianne Cutajar. This is most certainly because of my denunciation of the obstruction to justice in Malta in the fight against financial criminality and in the uncovering of the murder of Ms. Daphne Caruana Galizia,” Gomes said in her letter to Europol.
Letter I sent to @Europol, cc to @EP_President & others, following request for investigation addressed to Portuguese Criminal Police about “fake news” site defamating me. And #Malta ruling party members helping spread the slander…https://t.co/13zbruGiXl
— Ana Gomes, MEP (@AnaGomesMEP) November 20, 2018
Gomes has been openly critical of the Maltese government’s actions in undermining the rule of law and failures in the investigation on the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. She has also repeatedly called for the resignations of minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri – both embroiled in numerous corruption scandals.
Pro-government newspaper Kulhadd published the story last Sunday, which was then pushed by Labour MPs and government officials to discredit Gomes, who led a European Parliament mission to investigate the rule of law in Malta following the release of the Panama Papers.
Cutajar, was particularly enthusiastic about taunting Gomes with the news, without bothering to check the source of the claim or its veracity.
The Portuguese MEP asked Europol to conduct an investigation on this website, to identify who is behind the slander directed at her and to demand the removal of all defamatory content published about the EP mission to Kazakhstan and any slanderous personal remarks against Gomes.
Gomes said that on 15 November the site – European Union Anti-Corruption – “published a piece accusing me of ties with a person facing corruption charges in Kazakhstan, Mr. Mukhtar Ablyazov, in connection with the EP/AFET mission which visited Kazakhstan last September, in which I participated. I do not know this individual and was never contacted by him.”
However, Gomes said, during her visit she met lawyer Bota Goz Kardermali and her mother, who alerted her to the situation of their brother and son – Iskander Yerimbetov – currently unjustly in prison as a retaliation for the fact that his sister (Bota) is Ablyazov’s lawyer and is currently in exile.
“I note that all my initiatives in favour of human rights’ victims are documented and open to public scrutiny through my personal site www.anagomes.eu. I do not have, and never had, any financial relation with any Kazakh citizen or any individuals for whose human rights I campaign,” Gomes said.
The MEP said the “website has several features that indicate its suspicious nature” and added that the portal called European Union Anti-Corruption, aims at spreading confusion with the European programme called European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative.
Gomes alerted Europol that the website domain is registered in Malaysia and does not have any “About” page, no address, contact details or any information related to the organisation.
“Despite its thousands of followers, the organization seems not to have a single identifiable official. Moreover, anonymous people write most of its posts,” Gomes said.
The MEP added that the website has been denounced as “Russian propaganda” and the high number of Facebook followers reveals the use of bots and other sources to boost their digital presence and attempt to provide credibility to its defamatory content.