Finance Minister on Panamagate scandal: “Resign? As if.”

Published: March 22, 2016 at 5:09pm

The Finance Minister has pronounced himself on his cabinet colleague, Konrad Mizzi, and Panamagate. Read what he had to say here.

He talked about how his cabinet colleague is undergoing a tax audit, as though this will somehow clarify matters or change the situation. This is not about tax. This is about crime. This is about money-laundering. It is not a matter for the Commissioner for Revenue but a matter for the Commissioner of Police. Whether there is money or not is, at this stage, irrelevant. There is no money which can possibly be legal because Konrad Mizzi’s only legal source of income is his government salary and rent from his London flat. Or is it a house now?

What we are talking about here is intent: what that company was set up for. The Commissioner for Revenue cannot investigate that – it is not within his sphere of authority or competence to do.

The Finance Minister knows this. “Several European Commissioners set up and declare their own trusts to manage their wealth. The issue is not whether ministers should be allowed to open trusts but whether Mizzi’s motivation in doing so was legitimate,” he told Malta Today. Exactly so. And this is not about trusts, anyway – this is about companies in Panama. Those European Commissioners will have trusts in their own country and not trusts in New Zealand holding companies in secretive and EU-blacklisted Panama. Oh, and they will also have actual wealth to manage, which Konrad Mizzi does not. He has a government salary and a flat, and premises of no declared address in London.

The Finance Minister also dodged questions on whether he will be the Prime Minister’s substitute nominee for the European Court of Auditors, and when asked whether he will resign from the cabinet so as not to be tainted with corruption, he laughed it off and said: “Resign? As if.”

edward scicluna panamagate