Updated at 16.30 with Rosianne Cutajar statement

Rosianne Cutajar has been found to be in “serious breach” of ethics rules governing the conduct of MPs in the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly.

In a meeting held on Tuesday, the council’s rules committee found Cutajar had breached articles 10 and 12 of the parliamentary assembly’s rules of conduct.

Article 10 says no member shall act as a paid advocate in any work of the assembly while article 12 prohibits members from using their position to further their own or other person’s interests in breach of the conduct.

Times of Malta revealed last year how Cutajar received a €9,000 “gift” from murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, a few weeks after she flew to the Strasbourg assembly to give a speech downplaying 17 Black and other government corruption scandals.

Fenech was outed as 17 Black’s owner by Times of Malta and Reuters in November 2018.

Panama Papers documents showed how his company planned to send up to €2 million to former government officials Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. The men deny having any such plans.

Committee to prepare report

According to the council’s decision this week, its rules committee will prepare and publish a report, and inform speaker Anglu Farrugia accordingly.

Contacted by Times of Malta, Farrugia said he is abroad and has not yet been informed of the decision.

Last October, the government “substituted” Cutajar as a member of the assembly, replacing her with Energy Minister Miriam Dalli.

Cutajar resigned from cabinet in February 2021 over her alleged role in an Mdina property deal with Fenech.

A probe by standards commissioner George Hyzler found Cutajar had breached the Maltese parliament’s ethics standards over her failure to declare income from the deal.

Cutajar was ‘reprimanded’ by Malta’s ethics committee over the finding in the Hyzler report.

The ‘reprimand’ turned out to be a letter by the speaker Anglu Farrugia simply informing her about the committee’s decision finding her in breach of the code of ethics.

Despite the breach, Cutajar was accepted as a Labour candidate to contest Saturday's general election.

PN MP Jason Azzopardi made reference to the decision in a Facebook post on Thursday. 

'Continuation of Azzopardi witch hunt'

In comments to Times of Malta, Cutajar said this was a continuation of the witch hunt instigated by Jason Azzopardi to try to score some points with his electorate.  

"No wonder the Nationalist Party tried to hide him as much as possible during the electoral campaign. "I have shouldered political responsibility even though I faced unsubstantiated allegations.

"As the Prime Minister said, I will be judged by the people. I look forward to my constituents making their voice heard and showing whether they believe me or Jason Azzopardi," Cutajar said.

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