As expected, the past hours were predominantly taken up by the ‘Day After effect’ following the publication of the Egrant inquiry.
The following tries to synthesise what was said and reported so far.
The Malta Independentreports that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit has warned David Casa that he has handled stolen sensitive information, adding that it will be demanding that action be taken after he published a leaked FIAU report.
The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit said Casa was referring to the document he published as an FIAU report when this document was still a work in progress when it was illegally leaked.
According to a report on Lovin Malta former police inspector and financial intelligence gatherer Jonathan Ferris has cast serious doubt on the credibility of former Pilatus Bank employee Maria Efimova, arguing that he has been a victim of her lies in the past.
“I won’t comment on the Egrant report because I haven’t even read it yet, but if you had to ask me what I think about Efimova, I can say she had invented things from A to Z about me, including that I had induced a miscarriage,” Ferris told Lovin Malta. “I’m angrier than anyone that she hasn’t been extradited to Malta because I still have a pending case against her.”
“We were Efimova’s first victims and we are still suffering from her lies,” Ferris said. “The case took months to reach the Police Board and I am yet to receive a copy of the Board’s recommendations. Nobody from the police or the government has ever apologised for the hell we went through because of her lies.”
“I don’t know if she was telling the truth about Egrant or not, but experience tells me to be sceptical. Once bitten, twice shy, and I’d never deal with her again if if it were up to me.” continues the Lovin’ Malta report.
Maria Efimova, the Russian Whistleblower didn’t mince her words in a reaction via her twitter account.
Shame on you, Jonathan Ferris. How low one can get? Crooks' doormat, you've put me through the hell, and you are trying to make even more damage. Two months ago you were ready to come to Athens to testify in my favour, remember?
— Maria Efimova (@MariaEfimova7) July 23, 2018
Even Efimova’s husband reacted to Ferris interview.
ferris sent an affidavit, to our lawyer in Greece stating Pilatus bank officials were present during interrogation, my wife was put in lock up and intimidated. And if he wants to see my wife he can visit us in Crete, and I will explain to him who suffered.
— Pantelis Varnavas (@PantelisVarnav1) July 23, 2018
PL MEP Miriam Dalli said has asked the European Parliament president to remove Simon Busuttil from a panel overseeing the appointment of judges to the European Court of Justice.
Dalli said that following the Egrant inquiry findings that showed how the allegations against Joseph Muscat were “a mere fabrication”, Antonio Tajani should seriously reconsider Busuttil’s role.
PN MEP Roberta Metsola announced that she requested for the beginning of a process within the structures of the Nationalist Party to address the current situation and disagreement within the party on how to fight corruption.
Labour Party MEP Alfred Sant calls for the resignation of MEP David Casa
Labour Party MEP Alfred Sant called for the resignation of David Casa in view of the fact that for the past months he worked to hinder Malta’s progress by protecting Maria Efimova and in the process manipulating MEP Ana Gomes.
Nationalist MEP David Casa publishes FIAU report on Konrad Mizzi.
In a statement, Nationalist MEP David Casa said “I refer to the latest developments, and to the fact that I had offered to give testimony in front of Magistrate Aaron Bugeja on the Egrant inquiry, in relation to the FIAU report which is in my possession. He said that in view of the fact that Minister Konrad Mizzi attempted to use the 3% of a published inquiry that had little to do with him to absolve himself of wrongdoing he felt its his duty to publish the FIAU report.
A number of PN MPs back Simon Busuttil
Several PN MPs expressed support for Simon Busuttil by posting #notinmyname and #strongertogether on their social media pages. Mario de Marco was the first to do so followed by Beppe Fenech Adami, Jason Azzopardi, Claudette Buttigieg, Therese Comodini Cachia, Karol Aquilina, and Karl Gouder. Alex Perici Calascione, Rosette Thake and David Casa put up similar posts while Paula Mifsud Bonnici declared she would vote against the motion of no confidence in Simon Busuttil if this were put before the Executive Committee.
MP Claudio Grech said that the strategic merits of using the Egrant story in the electoral campaign were questionable, especially when the PN had so much more merits on which to win the elections. Nevertheless, the Opposition had an obligation to raise the issue and ask political questions and Simon Busuttil as Leader of the Opposition was entirely duty bound to do so. For the same PN he led to politically lynch him for that is outrageous.
The inquiry about Egrant showed that all allegations made against Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle was based on false documents, and former PN leader Simon Busuttil, who led the campaign against Muscat, does not deserve his place in Parliament, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said during a Press Conference by the Labour Party.
Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia has officially written to the Attorney General Peter Grech, requesting a full copy of the Egrant inquiry report. The statement said that “The Attorney General accepted a request by the Prime Minister for him to have a copy of the report as one of the subjects of the inquiry. This has brought about a situation where the Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party has a full copy of the inquiry.”
This created a political imbalance that the government was taking advantage of and urged the Attorney General’s office not to be complicit “in this imbalance” by immediately forwarding a copy of the inquiry.
Clyde Puli posts and quotes the Editorial of The Times
In a post on Facebook the PN Sec Gen accused Simon Busuttil of jumping on the Egrant allegations bandwagon too enthusiastically while he was party leader and has now therefore to shoulder responsibility. Puli says Busuttil can contribute to the fight either by joining “the vociferous two-member minority in Opposition” or, if he resigns from the House, by leading an umbrella of civil society groups which would “keep the PN and its leader on its toes.”
Activists denounce Adrian Delia
#OccupyJustice and Awturi accused the PN of abdicating its responsibility of taking the government to task in a strongly-worded statement. It said the country is witnessing “the opposition morph into the government’s mouthpiece. While admitting civil society has no say in the decisions of political parties, the groups said they wanted to show solidarity with Simon Busuttil and David Casa who “are under Muscat and Delia’s axe”.
The Caruana Galizias press for Egrant investigation
The Caruana Galizia family called for the publication of the full inquiry and said that the Magistrate was “unable to say with confidence that the Prime Minister is guiltless.” The family asks why Joseph Muscat is not interested in the question of Egrant’s ownership and pointed out that Daphne Caruana Galizia had correctly revealed that the company had an account in the UAE. The statement also calls for the removal of the Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi and says that until Joseph Muscat sacks them “he will continue to be complicit in their crimes.”
In a statement in reply to this, the Government said “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.”
The Guardian reports on PM press conference
The Guardian reports on the Prime Minister’s announcement that the conclusions of the inquiry cleared him and that “justice has been served.” The paper also quotes his criticism of Simon Busuttil who, he said, took advantage of a lie in his thirst for power. Joseph Muscat said “the only honourable thing for (Busuttil) to do is resign from all his positions, including as MP.”
The Telegraph puts news in context of murder
The Telegraph says that Malta’s PM and his wife were cleared over the corruption scandal at the heart of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s claims. The paper says the magistrate found contradictory evidence from Maria Efimova and says that the conclusions come as a blow to the Caruana Galizia family and those asking for justice over her assassination.
EU Observer quotes Sven Geigold
The EU Observer headline says the Prime Minister has been ‘cleared of Panama Paper wrongdoing’. It says Joseph Muscat said the report exonerates claims against his Michelle Muscat, Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, and John Dalli. EU Observer picks up a tweet from German Greens MEP Sven Geigold: “Indeed it would be crucial to know who falsified the documents. However, this inquiry does not respond to the key questions of the EP’s rule of law report on Malta.”