Magistrate Ian Farrugia has ordered the launch of a criminal inquiry into allegations that the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, the Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi and others broke money laundering laws when opening secret companies in Panama, and the timing of it all is ironically poetic.
The news came this morning when Farrugia, who was the duty magistrate when the application was filed by Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil last week, upheld the request for an investigation, saying that the pre-requisities for an inquiry had been satisfied. Busuttil tweeted about the decision earlier today, saying he was delighted that the criminal investigation was finally green-lit.
As it so happens, though, today is Keith Schembri’s birthday.
The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, who turned 42 today, posted a Facebook status earlier today sharing the government’s reaction to the news and calling Simon Busuttil a “broken record”. “It’s embarrassing how, in a democracy, the Leader of the Opposition misinterpreted a Court Order to such a degree for political gain,” Schembri said, going on to quote the the government statement that it would be cooperating with the inquiry.
Seeing as, after all, it is Schembri’s special day today, many people replied to the post, wishing him a happy birthday and inevitably linking the news to this day, of all days.
At the end of the day, though, it seems like Simon Busuttil did give Keith Schembri a small birthday present… by awkwardly tagging a random Keith Schembri instead of the Chief of Staff in his official tweet.