Panama Papers / 17 Black inquiry must be published – Opposition

Shadow justice minister Karol Aquilina has called for the inquiry on 17 Black and the Panama Papers to be published immediately to avoid another situation where a magisterial inquiry ends up in the hands of the prime minister while the rest of the country remained in the dark.

The Panama Papers / 17 Black inquiry is a result of requests by former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, MEP David Casa and Repubblika at different stages.

It concerns the secret offshore companies belonging to former government officials Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, and Yorgen Fenech who stands accused of commissioning the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Nexia BT, now shut down, was the company involved in setting up the network of offshore companies. Its owners, Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, are facing money laundering charges related to a separate inquiry on the corrupt hospitals’ deal.

“The Attorney General and the Police Commissioner will be held responsible if the report again ends up in the hands of Prime Minister Robert Abela as happened with the hospitals inquiry. This is abusive and illegal. It allows the government to control the narrative and influence the judicial process for political advantage,” Aquilina said.

Following Busuttil’s request for an inquiry, MEP David Casa submitted to the magistrate a previously undisclosed report by the FIAU in February 2018, which he said showed “money laundering on an enormous, unprecedented scale by members of government.”

In a statement today, Casa said: “It has been many years since a courageous source handed me an FIAU report which their superiors intended to bury. When I took it to the magistrate, Labour MPs had called for criminal proceedings to be launched against me. I eventually published that report, despite the threats, because I was convinced that the public should know the truth.”

Saying he would request a copy of the inquiry in the coming days, Casa added: “We deserve justice. At its core, this case is about the betrayal of the Maltese people by a mafia that put its own greed above all else. But justice is now within reach, and we are finally seeing the results of the work we started so many years ago. Going forward, we must strengthen our efforts further to ensure that justice is not derailed and sabotaged.”

The FIAU report published by Casa focused on disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi and how he colluded with the prime minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, to open secret companies to receive money from illicit activities.

The report concluded the police should take action against Mizzi based on extensive evidence of Mizzi’s activities – including bank statements, travel details and more.

It refers to Mizzi’s “frantic attempts” to hide his actions and contains other evidence – such as dates, numbers and names of other individuals – as well as an analysis of all the negotiations involving Mizzi, dates of such negotiations, including the sale of Enemalta.

Casa’s lawyer, Jason Azzopardi, said Malta should expect “a tsunami”.

                           

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