Joseph Muscat lashed out on Monday following news that he is to face criminal charges, saying the police and attorney general had breached his right to a fair hearing.

Muscat noted that he had not been questioned by investigators before charges against him and others were filed in court.

He described that as an “obscenity and abomination”. 

“Those who dirtied themselves with this injustice or looked the other way instead of fixing it will be judged harshly by the people in the short-term, justice in the long run and by history forever,” Muscat wrote on Facebook.

Joseph Muscat's reaction.Joseph Muscat's reaction.

Several Labour insiders told Times of Malta those words appeared to be a veiled attack on Prime Minister Robert Abela and his ministers.

It is unusual for prosecutors to file criminal charges against suspects without having first questioned them, criminal lawyers told Times of Malta.

They said it is also unusual for people charged with crimes related to fraud or money laundering to be arraigned through a court summons, rather than under arrest. Suspects arraigned under summons are free to return home after they plead not guilty and do not have to request bail.

Times of Malta reported on Monday that prosecutors from the office of Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg have filed criminal charges against Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and more than a dozen other individuals and companies.

They are suspected of having committed crimes in connection with the now-annulled deal to privatise three state hospitals. That deal was negotiated and signed by the Muscat government and annulled by a civil court last year, which found that it was tainted by fraud and that top government officials had colluded against the national interest in the way they handled it.

A magisterial inquiry that was tasked with assessing whether Muscat, his ministers and top officials committed crimes in connection with the deal was concluded last week.

Muscat has spent the past year battling the inquiry process, saying the magistrate that led it is biased and out to get him.

Last week, he said the state’s institutions “are working against Labourites”.

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