PN MP Jason Azzopardi has said that Accutor, a Swiss firm that has engaged Joseph Muscat as a consultant, had paid for a trip the former Prime Minister took to Turkey which preceded a series of flights he took right before Malta closed its airport in 2020.
Azzopardi reminded the public of two Facebook posts he had published at the start of 2020.
On 19th February 2020, Azzopardi said that Muscat had flown to Pakistan ten days earlier and that his air ticket was purchased by a third party whose name and details are known to him.
On 17th March, Azzopardi said that Muscat was about to return to Malta from a London flight and that people shouldn’t forget how he had travelled to Zurich, London (twice), Pakistan and Miami in the span of four weeks.
“After today, [Prime Minister] Robert Abela will announce a lockdown. Wait and see,” he said.
A day later, Abela did indeed announce a complete ban on all passenger flights as of 21st March in response to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Azzopardi has now said that Muscat’s Turkish Airlines flight ticket was paid by credit card from [email protected]
“He travelled from Malta to Istanbul, and then on to Zurich, London and Miami in the span of four weeks. Right after he returned from London, Robert Abela announced a lockdown. Now we know why.”
Earlier today, Sunday Times of Malta reported that Muscat was paid €60,000 from Accutor and Spring X Media, two Swiss companies owned by Pakistani lawyer Wasay Bhatti, in the early months of 2020, shortly after his resignation as Prime Minister.
Accutor had received millions of euro from Steward Healthcare during the company’s takeover of the hospital contract from Vitals Global Healthcare.
Muscat said he had first met Bhatti as an investor with an office in Malta and that the lawyer had approached him for consultancy work shortly after his resignation as Prime Minister.
He has denied wrongdoing, stating that his consultancy work was documented, duly invoiced, declared, and paid in Malta. Bhatti has also denied wrongdoing.
Times of Malta also reported that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had reached out to Bhatti for help shortly after he was revealed to be the owner of 17 Black.
In an email, he asked Bhatti to help set up “discreet” corporate structure to help him move money out of Dubai and said he was referred to him by “a common friend from Malta”.
Accutor AG has since declared bankruptcy and Spring X Media is under liquidation.
Opposition Leader Bernard Grech has said Parliament should investigate the payments made to Muscat, who was still an MP at the time they were made.
Do you think Parliament should investigate these consultancy payments?