Today: Friday, 12 August 2022 year

Panama papers: Maltese PM cleared of wrongdoing

Panama papers: Maltese PM cleared of wrongdoing

Panama papers high-level corruption scandal touched many influential people last year but Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat already cleared of wrongdoing, The Guardian reported.

The murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has found no evidence that the Maltese PM’s wife was involved in money-laundering. Her allegation prompted widespread speculation that she had been the victim of a state-backed assassination, but a string of stories she wrote alleging sleaze in Malta’s government wasn’t really professional inquiry.

The late blogger Galizia was killed in a car bomb attack last October, just six months after reporting that Joseph Muscat’s wife Michelle had a secret bank account that was used for laundering cash for the ruling family of Azerbaijan. According to Galizia, Michelle’s finance was connected directly to the family of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, a central Asian state, a former Soviet Republic.

However, a lengthy inquiry by a Maltese magistrate has now ruled that there was no evidence to link either Mrs Muscat or her husband to Egrant, a shell company first identified in the 2016 Panama papers scandal.

The most influential Maltese blogger Galizia had alleged that Egrant was used to channel more than $1m (£761,000) from the family of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, a central Asian country with a strong reputation for corruption, money laundering and human rights abuses.

In fact, the magistrate’s inquiry found contradictory evidence from Maria Efimova, a whistleblower at Pilatus who had been Galizia’s main source for the story. While Maltese blogger claimed to have been shown the documents by Efimova, the Russian claimed never to have shown them to blogger.