It’s been three years since Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb, but former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is still suing the dead journalist for libel.
Magistrate Victor Axiak yesterday convened a sitting in relation to this suit that Muscat instituted against Caruana Galizia in 2017 after she wrote that the mysterious Panama company Egrant belonged to his wife and that it had received large sums of money from a Dubai company belonging to Azerbaijan’s ruling family.
It was a brief sitting, with Muscat’s lawyer not even turning up, extending the case even further.
Three other libel suits in relation to the Egrant affair, against Caruana Galiza’s son Matthew, former NET TV journalist Mario Frendo and PN MP Karl Gouder are being heard in tandem.
Muscat has repeatedly said that he will only drop the libel, now against the late journalist’s estate, if her family accept the conclusions of a magisterial inquiry into the company.
The inquiry found no proof that Egrant belonged to the Muscats or that it had received the alleged large sums of money, and declared alleged declarations of trust handed in as having forged signatures.
However, Caruana Galizia’s family has rejected Muscat’s offer, arguing that it will not succumb to extortion by public servants.
The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović has said it is “outrageous to put it mildly” that Muscat has refused to drop his libel suit against the assassinated journalist.
Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri, former ministers Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona and former Opposition leader Adrian Delia have all dropped libel cases against Caruana Galizia following her assassination.