Joseph Muscat has demanded that a magistrate leading a corruption probe into the hospitals deal step down immediately. 

In a judicial filing on Thursday, the ex-prime minister said he wants magistrate Gabriella Vella to step down from the inquiry and pass it on to someone else "who can secure impartiality, both as perception and a matter of fact, in this case, which has now turned political". 

Muscat has been under renewed scrutiny following revelations by Times of Malta and its media partners linking him to a Swiss firm that used to be called VGH Europe. 

He received €60,000 in suspicious Swiss payments that are being scrutinised by the inquiry. 

Vitals Global Healthcare Europe changed its name before payments were made to Joseph Muscat.Vitals Global Healthcare Europe changed its name before payments were made to Joseph Muscat.

Muscat's home was searched last year as part of the ongoing probe. 

The ex-prime minister complained on Facebook that the magistrate has yet to hear his version of events. 

"For some reason, she was comfortable in ordering the police to enter on my family in our home but not in hearing what I have to say," Muscat complained. 

Muscat also claimed there have been "continuous leaks" in the inquiry, including people publicly boasting about knowing what was going to happen, and people turning up on his doorstep to follow proceedings. 

He further claimed that members of the magistrate's immediate family "promote propaganda" by those who filed the inquiry, a reference to rule-of-law NGO Repubblika. 

"Constitutional case law, the code of ethics and international principles governing the judiciary are clear about this.

"I have resisted taking this step for some time to give the benefit of doubt but the outrageous moves of the past few days made me lose all possible trust I could have in this process," Muscat said.

The ex-prime minister said he is ready to "fight on my own for the truth to prevail and for those cooking up conjectures to suit their political agenda to pay". 

In a statement, Repubblika condemned what it described as Muscat’s attack on the judiciary and promised to continue working for him and his clique to pay for their corruption.

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