The Attorney General has called for the seven high profile individuals involved in Panama Papers appeals to be joined in the constitutional suit filed by Simon Busuttil.
Dr Busuttil filed the suit after Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi had ruled to reject a challenge presented by the former Nationalist Party leader and continue to hear the appeals.
This latest twist in the proceedings came to light this morning during the suit's first sitting before Mr Justice Joseph Zammit McKeon.
Lawyer Victoria Buttigieg, appearing on behalf of the Attorney General, tabled a request for all seven appellants in the Panama appeals: Prime Minister Joseph Muscat; chief of staff Keith Schembri; Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi; and businessmen Brian Tonna, Karl Cini, Malcolm Scerri and Adrian Hillman, to be made parties to the suit.
The request was opposed by Dr Busuttil's lawyer Jason Azzopardi, who said the seven individuals were extraneous to the constitutional proceedings.
The Attorney General, he added, appeared to have assumed the role of counsel to the Prime Minister and the other appellants.
Mr Justice Zammit McKeon is expected to pronounce itself on the Attorney-General's request later this month.
This case constitutes the next stage in a legal saga sparked off in July, when the former PN Leader had asked a magistrates’ court to investigate whether the aforementioned seven had broken money-laundering laws, following revelations from the Panama Papers.
Magistrate Ian Farrugia decreed that the prerequisites for an inquiry had been met, and shortly afterwards the seven inquiry targets filed separate appeals calling for the revocation of magistrate Farrugia’s decree.
The appeals were assigned to Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi, prompting a challenge by Dr Busuttil on the grounds that the Judge’s wife, Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi, had expressed her views on the Panama Papers scandal.
Following the Judge’s refusal to accept the challenge, Dr Busuttil had filed a separate constitutional case claiming a violation of his right to a fair hearing and requesting that the appeals be assigned to a different member of the judiciary.