Steward Healthcare on Monday denied that it had created a political support fund or provided financial favours for any current or former Maltese officials or politicians.

Times of Malta reported on Sunday that the company had set up a €1 million fund that was suspected to have been aimed at passing on bribes to Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.

The funds were held by Accutor AG, a Swiss company suspected of being used as a centralised money-laundering hub for payments linked to the hospitals deal involving Vitals and Steward.

“Steward strenuously objects to the suggestion that the company created a ‘political support fund’. We have never been asked for – nor provided – financial favours by any current or former Maltese official or minister and no such fund ever existed," the company said on Monday.

The company made no reference to the fact the Maltese appeals court in October declared the contract as null after confirming fraud. Senior government officials were complicit in the privatisation fraud and the Maltese government had failed in its duty to protect the national interest, and defended Steward throughout the process, the court had said.

Steward said it had purchased a concession for an end-of-useful life small community hospital, a rehab facility in poor shape; and an abandoned asbestos-infested building.

"We also inherited many unexpected liabilities totalling over €60 million. The original terms of the concession have been described by the Government of Malta itself, the EU, and the National Audit Office as “unbankable”.

Steward spent years negotiating with the government in good faith to bring the concession in line with regulations and make it bankable," the company said.

“It is during this time that Steward hired and paid Accutor as a business management consultant for a limited period. Those efforts to regularise the contract were unsuccessful and Steward was left with no choice but to terminate the contract for breach and launch legal proceedings against Malta with the International Court of Arbitration," the US-based company said. 

Steward claimed that Malta's media "indulges in ridiculous conspiracy theories and conjecture" and complained that it was not asked for information.

"We also understand that this may be an issue of interest for the magisterial inquiry and the courts. It is astonishing that this inquiry has taken over four years to conduct, reportedly costing over €10 million, and yet we have never been asked once for any information related to the content of this article," the company said.

It insisted it was "consistently transparent.

"However, neither the Maltese media nor the courts seem interested in dealing with the facts.”

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