Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has emerged triumphant as a long-awaited magisterial inquiry dismissed reports that his wife owned a secret offshore company.
In his inquiry, magistrate Aaron Bugeja found that a declaration of trust claiming Egrant belongs to Michelle Muscat was in fact fraudulent. He said that journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Pilatus Bank whistleblower Maria Efimova contradicted each other on this document – with Caruana Galizia saying Efimova had showed it to her and Efimova saying she had seen it from Caruana Galizia.
The magistrate ruled that the signatures on the ‘declaration of trust’ were false, leading him to suspect the entire story was nothing but a a frame-up intended to undermine the Prime Minister.
“Someone wanted my wife and I to get charged in court with a serious crimes that could have seen us get jailed for 12 years,” Muscat told a press conference. “The coward who wanted to do that wanted to do so with the help of false documents and signatures – a criminal act.”
There were no transactions carried out by Egrant or by the Panama companies owned by Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.
The inquiry also cast serious doubt on suspicions that Pilatus Bank’s chairman Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad had smuggled out damning evidence from the bank in his suitcases on the night the Egrant story broke. The magistrate saw footage of Sadr arriving to Malta’s airport with the suitcases, depositing them in the bank’s boardroom and leaving with them.