Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has confirmed he has been contacted by a “government entity” to assist in the establishment of a Freeport for luxury goods.
Muscat told MaltaToday that such a project had long been on the government’s cards and that he has been asked by a government entity to use his international contacts to revive it. The former Prime Minister said he hasn’t demanded any contract or payment and hasn’t taken up any directorships in companies.
One of the people he has pitched the idea to is Yves Bouvier, a Swiss art dealer and businessman who has often been described in the media as the ‘Freeport King’ for his majority stakes in the Singapore Freeport (often referred to as Asia’s Fort Knox) and the Luxembourg Freeport as well as a minority stake in the Geneva Freeport.
MaltaToday reported that Muscat pitched the idea of a maximum-security Maltese Freeport for luxury goods such as works of art, gold and currency in an email to Bouvier which he signed off as ‘former Prime Minister of Malta’. In the email, Muscat told Bouvier that investors were ready to back this project.
Muscat has sent out several emails to international businessmen, thanking them for their service to the country, using his firstname.lastname@example.org email, a personal email account which he unorthodoxly used for government duty throughout his seven-year tenure as Prime Minister.
His continued use of the email account after his resignation as Prime Minister has raised questions as to whether he is in breach of data protection laws.
Bouvier was at the centre of The Bouvier Affair, a scandal which rocked the art world and which saw Bouvier accused of misrepresenting the original value of artworks and overpricing his clients for them, most notably Russian tycoon and AS Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Coincidentally, Rybolovlev’s ex-wife and daughter have since become Maltese citizens, courtesy of the Individual Investor Programme.