Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has denied US financial crime blogger Kenneth Rijock’s claims that corruption he committed could see him tried in the United States.
In a blogpost today, Rijock cited “reliable sources” as claiming that Muscat is exercising power over the current Cabinet by handing them proceeds of corruption, often in cash. He also claimed that Muscat used a trip to Miami, where Rijock himself is based, to head off to a Caribbean country to deposit illicit cash.
According to Rijock, a former-money-launderer-turned-FBI informant, the FBI have launched a special money laundering investigation focusing solely on Malta and a number of Cabinet members are cooperating.
He said FBI agents have been on the ground in Malta for weeks, that the US is seeking to extradite Muscat and that the former Prime Minister is also being accused of Providing Material Support to a Designated Terrorist Organization.
“Given that his case is going to be tried in the Southern District of New York, meaning Manhattan, where the 9-11 attacks took place, he’s not going to find a sympathetic jury there under any circumstances,” Rijock claimed.
“The wise thing to do would be to plead guilty, and cooperate early on, to avoid what will be a life sentence.”
However, Muscat told Lovin Malta that he finds these allegations “extremely difficult to believe” because the accusations levelled against him, including the link to aiding terrorists, is completely false.
“I totally deny any of the accusation of illegalities directed towards me by this individual who seems to have contacts to usual suspects in Malta,” he said.
“I have not been contacted by any foreign law enforcement agency and I am not aware of any such ‘investigation’. I am not facing any trials, in the US or elsewhere and do not have any attorneys. I also do not have any bank accounts other than the local ones declared in my publicly available Declaration of Assets.”
Muscat also took a swipe at Rijock, referring to his “colourful” history as an ex-career money launderer and arguing that he had been accused of propagating fake news in the past and was made to apologise for blogs he wrote.
Cover photo: Left: Joseph Muscat, Right: Kenneth Rijock