Dutch MP and Council of Europe Special Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt had his Wikipedia page manipulated last October to say that he paid Russia for false information – the change was made from an IP address of a Maltese ministry.
In an interview with Dutch media, Omtzigt spoke about the “opposition” he encountered in Malta when investigating the state of the rule of law following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and described the experience during his fact-finding mission as “unprecedented”.
“In a sense, it was my most difficult job ever,” he said.
“When I travelled to Malta to speak with those involved, I was under constant police supervision. That determined the atmosphere,” he added.
The hostility went beyond that. “My Wikipedia page was modified in October from an IP address that came from a ministry in Malta,” he said. “It suddenly said that I had paid Russia for false information.”
Throughout the interview, Omtzigt listed other daunting hurdles he came across, such as the contact made with the Council of Europe by the British PR agency Chelgate, which was hired by the Maltese government when Omtzigt called for an independent investigation into the murder of Caruana Galizia.
He said that his mission is “not yet” accomplished. In an interview with The Shift last month, Omtzigt reiterated his position that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat should resign immediately in the national interest, and defined the current government as “a shameless regime”.
Recently, Omtzigt has requested a meeting with Labour MPs Chris Fearne and Robert Abela, the two contenders to replace Muscat, during his next visit to Malta this month. Yet there has as yet been no public response to his request.
He also spoke about Malta’s golden passport scheme and highlighted the concern that money can be laundered through European banks – issues that were also raised this week in the Dutch Parliament in a series of parliamentary questions filed with other three Dutch MPs.
“Maltese problems can directly affect the Netherlands. Even the AIVD (Dutch intelligence service) warned about national security in that regard,” Omtzigt said.