A UK parliament report about disinformation and fake news has flagged “dealings” it says Malta's Labour Party had in 2013 with the group that set up the notorious data-mining company Cambridge Analytica.

The claim, concerning PL involvement with SCL, was repeated despite Malta government denials last year.

The government issued a fresh denial on Monday, insisting there had been no such contact involving the government, the Labour Party or Joseph Muscat when he was Opposition leader. 

The UK report states that SCL held meetings in Malta, and Henley & Partners' Christian Kalin was introduced by SCL to Joseph Muscat in 2011.

The London-based company Cambridge Analytica was last year accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook members to influence the US presidential election in 2016.

Its executives had also been filmed in an undercover sting operation suggesting they could use honey traps and potentially even bribery to discredit politicians and help influence voters in St Kitts and Nevis.

Personal data from more than 6,000 Maltese Facebook users was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

In April, it emerged that more Maltese citizens were targeted than Estonia, Latvia and Luxembourg, countries with higher population numbers.

Worked on campaigns that were not financed in a transparent way, overstepping legal and ethical boundaries

The report said that SCL Elections and its associated companies, including Cambridge Analytica, worked on campaigns that were not financed in a transparent way, overstepping legal and ethical boundaries.

READ: Was your Facebook data misused?

The committee was told that behind much of SCL Elections’ campaigning work was the hidden hand of Christian Kalin, who arranged for investors to supply the funding to pay for campaigns, and then organised SCL to write their manifesto and oversee the whole campaign process.

In exchange, Henley & Partners would gain exclusive passport rights for that country, under a citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programme.

Such a scheme was controversially launched by the Labour government months after the 2013 election. No mention of passport sales was made in Labour’s pre-election manifesto.

Mr Kalin met with both political parties prior to the 2013 election, the committee report continues, citing confidential information presented to it. The PN showed no interest in the proposed passport scheme.

READ: House of Commons 'fake news' report wrong about Malta - government

'Claims based on unnamed sources' - government

In a reaction to the report, published on Monday, the government expressed its disappointment that the House of Commons report relied on “confidential information” claiming that there was a relationship between the Prime Minister and the company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), when in fact there was never any contact with the company.

“The government of Malta denies any claim that there was ever contact with SCL between the government, the Labour Party in Opposition or the Prime Minister when he was Opposition Leader.

“This was made very clear in representations by the government of Malta to the Select Committee, which chose to base its claim on unnamed sources”, the statement said.

In a tweet, former Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil said he was not surprised the Maltese government has been caught lying by the House of Commons inquiry.


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