Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he will never stop talking about the Egrant allegations and insisted that the “filthy lie” was the reason he called a snap election three years ago.
“It was a clear attempt to destabilise the country through a lie that everyone now realises was a lie,” Muscat said on the ONE TV programme Mija, which aired last night.
“In fact, the people who had promoted the lie back then don’t want to hear about it now. They’ll tell you ‘u iva, veru’ or that they don’t want to talk about now the magisterial inquiry’s over.”
“However, I will keep talking about this filthy lie that was forged against me, my wife and my family until I take my last breath.”
Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri recently testified in court that he and Muscat had been planning a snap election as early as February or March 2017.
This contradicts Muscat’s version of events that he had called an election to counter the potential economic repercussions of the Egrant allegations, which claimed the Prime Minister’s wife was the beneficiary of a secret Panamanian company and had received large payments from companies owned by Azerbaijan’s ruling family.
Now-assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia first claimed the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat owned Egrant on 20th April 2017.
Without referring to Schembri’s court testimony, Muscat stuck to his version of events last night, insisting he had no other choice but to call an election and speak frankly to the nation after the Egrant story was published.
“The people believed us,” he remarked.
A magisterial inquiry later found no evidence that Egrant ever belonged to the Muscats or that it received any payments whatsoever, but didn’t establish who the company was purchased for.
Financial services firm Nexia BT had ordered Egrant from Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca along with two other companies, which were intended for Schembri and former Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi.
The magisterial inquiry also found evidence of forged signatures on alleged copies of declarations of trust that were presented by Pierre Portelli, who was back then editor-in-chief of The Malta Independent.
It remains unknown who gave Portelli these documents, but he has insisted his source wasn’t Caruana Galizia, her Pilatus Bank informant Maria Efimova or former police officer Jonathan Ferris.
Ferris and Efimova have since been charged with perjury for their testimony in the Egrant inquiry, and a European Arrest Warrant has been issued against Efimova, who has moved to Greece.
Meanwhile, Efimova has insisted she has documents related to Egrant in her possession but is refusing to publish them unless Malta grants her whistleblower status.