‘Daphne project’ vows to disturb Malta’s corruption praxis

Daphne Caruana Galizia [Twitter]

Marking six months since the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, an international consortium of journalists has started publishing further revelations aimed at uncovering the truth about her assassination and making sure her investigations live on.

The publication of a first wave of stories by 18 media partners, including the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde and Süddeutsche Zeitung, which started on 17 April, is already causing an uproar in Malta, further underscored by calls for an investigation from MEPs.

Corruption is deeply entrenched in the small island country. Caruana Galizia, who was murdered on 17 October, was a top gun when it came to exposing corruption in Malta.

EURACTIV repeatedly quoted her articles and was in touch with her. Her blog, Running Commentary, was considered by many colleagues as the best source of information about her country.

New leaks show that the Maltese anti-money laundering agency (FIAU) had reason to suspect that Maltese Minister Konrad Mizzi was involved in money-laundering as far back as October 2016.

Sole EU minister named in Panama Papers is Malta’s Konrad Mizzi

Maltese journalists and bloggers have found that the only minister from an EU member state identified in the Panama papers of clients of tax evasion schemes is Malta’s Health and Energy Minister, Konrad Mizzi.

The FIAU report called for a police investigation, but this was not acted upon by the Maltese authorities. The Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, is also implicated in the scandal.

Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group, commented:

“This surely has to be the end of the line for Mizzi and Schembri. If they won’t do the honourable thing and stand down, then the prime minister surely has no choice but to sack them. In no other European country would it have been acceptable for people in such senior positions to stay in power for so long with these sort of scandals piling up on them.

“The European Commission needs to step in and investigate. These revelations add further suspicion of money laundering, and Vice-President Frans Timmermans needs to take them seriously. This is not just a Maltese concern – it concerns the interests of the whole EU. MEPs have given warnings already. The Commission should not drag its heels any longer.”

Malta branded 'Panama of Europe' after anonymous tip-off

An anonymous tip has alerted German authorities to the existence of 70,000 offshore companies registered in Malta. Tax investigators now want to share that data with other countries. EURACTIV’s partner Italia Oggi reports.

Giegold and a group of MEPs visited Malta and published last January a report on its “rule of law” mission to Malta.

The report followed the implications of members of the current government in the Panama Papers, the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and concerns over the rule of law in Malta. The common report of a cross-party delegation sheds light on serious shortcomings in the rule of law and demands tough consequences for Malta and the EU.

Malta denounced as tax haven as it assumes EU presidency

Malta was today (11 January) accused of being a tax haven as it took over the rotating presidency of the EU. Some companies in the EU’s smallest country pay as little as 5% tax on their profits.

The MEPs called on the Commission to investigate the evidence they found of systematic and serious deficiencies in the rule of law in Malta.

In particular, they express serious concerns about the unclear separation of powers, the weak implementation of anti-money laundering legislation, the serious problems deriving from the “investments for citizenship programme” (the ‘golden passports’, and the mentions of Maltese politically exposed persons in the Panama Papers and their continuing presence in government.

MEPs to slam Malta's plan for EU passports

Starting in February, Malta is planning to sell EU passports to foreigners, but a European Parliament vote on Thursday (16 January) is unlikely to overturn the decision, as the country has a long track-record of handing out citizenship for a price, EURACTIV Germany reports.

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