The shiftiness kicks in: Muscat begins slithering around with word games

Published: April 21, 2017 at 3:25am

Muscat said tonight that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists had no qualms about publishing the names of all politically exposed persons in the Panama Papers.

“But they didn’t publish my wife’s name, which means that she does not own Egrant Inc, because if her name was there, they would have published it.”

What sort of mind-games is he trying to play here to manipulate the unthinking? The hunt has been on for the owner of Egrant Inc, for the last year, precisely because the owner’s name was not included in the Panama Papers as it was given over Skype (voice) rather than in an email.

But that doesn’t mean that Egrant Inc had (the company was liquidated last January) no owner. It simply means that the name of the ultimate beneficial owner was recorded somewhere outside Mossack Fonseca’s server, in the documents that are necessary to record ownership.

There are only three places where those documents can be found: the corporate services provider office which made the arrangements (Nexia BT/Mossack Fonseca), the home or private office of the UBO, and the bank where an account is opened for the company.

The Prime Minister is perfectly positioned to advise the Commissioner of Police to raid the offices of Nexia BT and Pilatus Bank – in a proper democracy the Commissioner of Police wouldn’t take or need any such advice – but we all know that’s not going to happen, and why.

So instead, Muscat puts on a charade of talking about appointing a magistrate and challenging me to take the Egrant Inc documents to the police – as if a journalist should ever do any such thing – while the Police Commissioner himself gripes that he can’t investigate without documents, and then eats rabbit while the bank chairman smuggles the documents out of the building in case the Police Commissioner decides to take a break from munching on bunnies and orders a raid on his bank.

Tomorrow morning, journalists with common sense and an instinct for a story should be camped outside the offices of the Malta Financial Services Authority and the home of its long-time chief, Joe Bannister, who was instrumental in pushing the Pilatus banking licence through, to ask what they plan to do about this “bank” and its licence.

They’re dragging Malta through the gutter and slime, and all they care about is whether they will survive another five years to plunder even more.

“My reputation”, Muscat said tonight. What reputation? He should be bothered about Malta’s reputation, not his. They’ve given financial services the biggest kick downstairs that they possibly could have.

The Malta Financial Services Authority, led by Joe Bannister, gave a banking licence to a 33-year-old Iranian with four different St Kitts & Nevis passports and undeclared and unmonitored sources of wealth. They created a private, shady bank for corrupt and shifty Maltese PEPs and frightening Azerbaijani PEPs.