A 2014 family holiday by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis at a French hotel owned by Yorgen Fenech’s business group cost €10,000, Lovin Malta can reveal.
The payment was made through Eurochange, an international foreign currency exchange firm, suggesting another currency was converted to the euro.
Eurochange made the news recently when inspector Joseph Xerri testified in the police’s money laundering case against disgraced former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.
The forex firm was used to convert US dollars and euro as part of a complex web to transfer suspected backhanders to Schembri, Adrian Hillman, Malcolm Scerri, and Vince Buhagiar.
Lovin Malta reported last December that Zammit Lewis’ and Muscat’s holiday at the Hilton hotel in Évian-Les-Bains was partially funded by Fenech, the main suspect in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Zammit Lewis insisted back then that there’s proof he and Muscat paid for the holiday, although he doesn’t keep receipts from six years ago.
Meanwhile, Muscat said no taxpayer or EU funds were used for their hotel stay and that he and Zammit Lewis paid for their commercial flights to and from France accordingly. However, he didn’t specify who paid for their hotel stay.
Lovin Malta has repeatedly asked the pair to provide proof of payment, but they’ve failed to do so.
“You’re talking to me about a family holiday from seven years ago,” Zammit Lewis said last Friday when questioned about the €10,000 bill and whether he has proof of payment.
“I answered you five months ago, you came to Old Bakery Street, and I sent you written answers. We can keep going on like this and I can ask if you’ll check how Opposition MPs rent hotel rooms, where they conduct their legal work, and who they chose as their best men.”
“No one will smear my work with regards to the rule of law. Some people have an interest in stopping my work, but I’m determined and expected you to ask me questions about our work, which is reaping fruit in Malta and from a European perspective.”
Yesterday, Lovin Malta asked Zammit Lewis to confirm whether he used Eurochange in the past and, once again, whether he has any proof of payment. However, the Minister referred to his response at Friday’s press conference, wrongly stating the question was “identical”.
Questions sent to Muscat remain unanswered as of the time of writing.
The relationship between Zammit Lewis and Fenech recently came under the microscope when it was revealed the pair exchanged around 700 WhatsApp messages in the ten months prior to Fenech’s arrest in November 2019.
Muscat also shared a close relationship with Fenech, inviting him to his private birthday party at Girgenti in February 2019. Muscat, Fenech and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri also shared a WhatsApp group, which the former Prime Minister set up on 6th December 2017.
This was a day after George Degiorgio, Alfred Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat were arrested on suspicion of murdering Caruana Galizia.
Following the publication of this article, Zammit Lewis issued the following response.
Do you think Muscat and Zammit Lewis should publish proof of payment?
Cover photo: Hilton Évian-Les-Bains