Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Friday night said he would wait for ongoing inquiries into the offshore holdings of his chief of staff Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi before deciding whether action was merited following the latest 17 Black revelations.
Fielding questions from reporters, Dr Muscat gave his first reaction to a probe by Times of Malta and Reuters which today revealed how local criminal investigators have been handed an intelligence report naming Electrogas power station director and businessman Yorgen Fenech as the owner of the once secret company 17 Black.
The company had been named as the target client of similar companies owned by Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri, and according to leaked emails was destined to pay them the hefty sum of €150,000 monthly.
Dr Muscat said he had first heard of Mr Fenech's connection to 17 Black, which he said he could not verify, when he received questions from Reuters.
I will wait for these inquiries and then take the necessary decisions
Asked what reason Mr Fenech could have to engage in such a commercial relationship with his two close associates, Dr Muscat insisted he would not answer “leading questions”.
"The fact is there are ongoing investigations and inquiries by independent authorities. From the start I have said I will wait for these inquiries and then take the necessary decisions."
Dr Muscat said he had not seen any evidence or documentation to back up the latest reports, and reiterated that he would instead be leaving this in the hands of inquiring magistrates to establish.
Read: Revelations spark calls for resignations, investigations
Asked about how the 17 Black matter had been passed on to Maltese police for investigation, Dr Muscat said there were some who claimed that Malta's law enforcement had not been meeting its responsibilities.
Dr Muscat's comments prompted a swift reply from former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, who wrote on Twitter: "He is lying. He is actually objecting to having an inquiry on Panama Papers. And he is doing his level best to block my request in court to start it. In fact, the inquiry has not yet started precisely because of his objections."
CommentsComments powered by Disqus
Do not have an account?Sign Up