Matthew Caruana Galizia has welcomed new US sanctions on two leading political figures believed to be at the centre of corruption and conspiracy.
“Holy crap, finally. Thank you @StateDept and @USTreasury. Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri designated. What a wonderful Christmas gift for Malta,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and son of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, said shortly after the announcement.
Under the new sanctions, the two men – a former cabinet minister and the former OPM chief of staff respectively – can no longer enter US territories over their “involvement in significant corruption”.
— Matthew Caruana Galizia (@mcaruanagalizia) December 22, 2021
Caruana Galizia expanded on his thoughts in a wider post on social media.
“Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi have just been sanctioned by the US based on ‘credible evidence’ of ‘involvement in a corrupt scheme that entailed the award of a government contract for the construction of a power plant and related services in exchange for kickbacks and bribes’. Sai Mizzi is also designated. Her’s was the first Maltese name we found in the Panama Papers more than six years ago,” he said, referring to the wife of Konrad Mizzi.
Both Mizzi and Schembri were named in the Panama Papers leak in 2016 but were retained by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat after a snap election in 2017.
Mizzi and Schembri resigned in November 2019, after the arrest of murder suspect Yorgen Fenech led to the collapse of the Muscat administration.
Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil also welcomed the sanctions, saying: “as long as the Maltese government continues to protect Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri from criminal prosecution, Malta can never restore its credibility. We will just continue to sink deeper”.
As long as the Maltese government continues to protect Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri from criminal prosecution, Malta can never restore its credibility. We will just continue to sink deeper. https://t.co/MzwPJmSMnX
— Simon Busuttil (@SimonBusuttil) December 22, 2021
What do you make of the new sanctions?