Updated 1.30pm with government reaction
The Maltese public cannot be expected to simply accept as fact that we will never know for whom Egrant Inc. was set up, Daphne Caruana Galizia's family said on Monday, a day after a magisterial inquiry failed to find a link between the secret Panama company and the Prime Minister's family.
In the conclusions to his inquiry report, the family said in a statement, magistrate Aaron Bugeja was unable to say with confidence that the Prime Minister is guiltless. Nor could he state unequivocally that the allegations were false, they added, as he has been unable to prove the ownership of Egrant Inc., an anonymous Panamanian shell company that no longer exists.
The family of the slain journalist reminded the public that Egrant Inc. was set up in the same period and by the same firm, Nexia BT, as three other companies: Hearnville Inc., Tillgate Inc., and Torbridge Services Inc.
The only reason the public knows that minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri owned Hearnville Inc. and Tillgate Inc. is because their names appeared in leaked emails from Nexia BT to Mossack Fonseca in Panama.
"Without the email evidence, no Maltese magistrate would have been able to prove the companies’ ownership."
The only reason Egrant Inc.’s ownership is still questioned is because Nexia BT’s Karl Cini gave Mossack Fonseca the name of the Panama company’s ultimate beneficial owner over Skype, rather than in writing by email.
Last year, the Prime Minister’s consultant Brian Tonna claimed that he owned Egrant Inc. throughout its existence. The published excerpts of the magistrate's report show the inquiry has not confirmed Mr Tonna's claim that he is the ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant, the family said.
As Daphne Caruana Galizia had predicted, the UAE, where it was claimed that Egrant Inc. held a bank account, has failed to respond to Magistrate Bugeja’s request for information, the family pointed out.
They said the only way to get to the whole truth about Egrant Inc. is for the Maltese authorities to investigate Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Brian Tonna, Karl Cini, and the remaining staff at Pilatus Bank while they are still within easy reach.
Malta’s state authorities have failed and continue to fail to investigate the people who masterminded Malta’s "state capture".
They asked why Joseph Muscat has yet to ask for the resignations of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, despite their undisputed ownership of secret Panamanian companies which they set up shortly after the 2013 election.Malta’s state authorities have failed and continue to fail to investigate the people who masterminded Malta’s "state capture"
"Until Joseph Muscat sacks Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi he will continue to be complicit in their crimes."
Egrant Inc. is one of four related companies set up by Dr Muscat’s consultant for Dr Mizzi, Mr Schembri, and for a consultant, Cheng Chen of Accenture, all of whom were involved in the previously unannounced sale of shares in a key state asset, Enemalta, to a Chinese state-owned company, Shanghai Electric, shortly after the Panama companies were set up.
Azeri politically exposed persons' money laundering through Pilatus Bank does not feature in the published excerpts of the inquiry report, even though the concern was within the scope of the inquiry brief.
"The answers to these questions are unlikely to exonerate Joseph Muscat. Malta needs the whole truth and Joseph Muscat still holds the key," said the family, calling for the publication of the entire report.
Inquiry leaves no doubt on Muscats - government
The inquiry report leaves no doubt that allegations on the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat and the Prime Minister himself were false and fabricated, the government said in a statement.
"It is conclusive and clear, and Mrs Caruana Galizia herself had shown her confidence in the process by testifying before the inquiring magistrate."
It added that the family's statement does not refer to the inquiry’s key finding by international forensic experts that what Ms Caruana Galizia and her source Maria Efimova referred to as proof, namely declarations of trust, had been forged documents with falsified signatures.
"The fact that the family does not contest that the documents were forged means that they accept the conclusion that someone actually falsified the documents used by Mrs Caruana Galizia to base her story. The family could help shed light by stating whether they were aware of this fact."
The government said there was national consensus about the trustworthiness and independence of the magistrate who conducted the inquiry which has concluded unequivocally that the allegations about the prime minister and his wife were false.
"The inquiry speaks for itself. The government will not engage on facts proven by the inquiry itself, but will object on further false statements intended at continuing what is by now certified as the greatest lie in Malta’s political history."