Updated October 10 at 10.10am with video

Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said on Tuesday that he continued to believe that the prime minister owned the secret Panama company Egrant.

Speaking in parliament during a heated exchange with Dr Muscat, Dr Busuttil said he and thousands of other people would continue to hold on to their belief for as long as Dr Muscat retained chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, who also owned Panama companies set up at the same time.

The exchange developed after the prime minister was heard in off-mic comments accusing Dr Busuttil of ‘being a fraudster’ and falsifying documents and that "he should never see the country again".

Dr Busuttil angrily denied the claims and called on the prime minister to substantiate or withdraw his comments. He said the reference to not being able to see the country again was a direct threat.

Dr Muscat later apologised, saying he had spoken with political rhetoric. His reference to not seeing the country again was metaphoric in that Dr Busuttil should be ashamed of being seen in the country again after basing his political career on a lie.

Someone who believed a lie was a liar, and someone who backed a fraud was a fraudster, the prime minister charged. He, therefore, continued to hold Dr Busuttil politically responsible for what he and his family had gone through and the former Nationalist leader should not play the victim.

Read: Egrant inquiry finds falsified signatures, differing testimonies and no proof

During the exchange, Dr Muscat also said that even his wife’s signature had been forged on the Egrant declaration of trust.

Later, Opposition leader Adrian Delia backed Dr Busuttil, saying serious accusations had been made against a member of the opposition which the prime minister should substantiate or withdraw. He also said the prime minister had spoken of matters which were not in the public domain, reinforcing the opposition’s view of an imbalance created when the full Egrant report was not handed to it. He asked if the prime minister would immediately publish the report.

Read: Failure to publish Egrant report means people cannot be held to account - lawyer

Dr Muscat reiterated his intention to publish the report as soon as possible but denied revealing anything which was not known already.

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