Finance Minister Edward Scicluna this evening said that strong and tough decisions had to be taken by the Prime Minister regarding the revelations in the Panama Papers.

Moving  the second reading of a bill to amend the Financial Services Act, Professor Scicluna emphasised that he would "neither defend nor accuse" anyone involved in the Panama leaks.

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the Commissioner for Inland Revenue were investigating the matter, which was eminently political and difficult, but important.

Decisions on the matter, he said rested with the leader and he hoped that that the Labour Party would explain the situation without delay.

He also said it was not right to use the controversies surrounding the Panama Papers and the loan schemed introduced by the Nationalist Party to balance out the issues.

In a tweet, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil welcomed Prof. Scicluna's "clear warning" and hoped the Prime Minister would take the cue.

Speaking about the loan scheme launched by the Nationalist Party, Prof. Scicluna remarked that it smacked of a pyramid scheme, where deposits were used to pay the interest, sometimes used to service a non-performing loan.

He called for more information and respect to the spirit of EU legislation in this exercise. There needed to be a prospectus outlining a clear business plan and revenue streams, a sinking fund and the underwriting security.

Opening the debate on behalf of the Opposition, shadow minister Claudio Grech said that the Nationalist Party did not use public property to finance its operations.

Opposition deputy leader Mario Demarco expressed the Opposition’s agreement with the Prof. Scicluna’s assessment of the situation.

He added the Opposition was committed to collaborate towards the protection of Malta's the reputation as a financial services centre of repute and the competitiveness of the jurisdiction.

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