OK, so I want you to refrain from writing that super angry comment in Caps Lock for a second and roll with me here. For this experiment, you’ll need an Apple device and one question.
Asking Siri who’s the most corrupt politician in the world isn’t going to give you a straight answer read out by your AI assistant. It is, however, going to present you with a couple of search results… which are basically of similar questions people before you have asked on popular forums like Quora.
In a piece that details the World’s Ten Most Corrupt Leaders, for example, you’ve got everyone from mid 90s Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko to Indonesia’s 31-year-long President Mohamed Suharto, who allegedly embezzled over $15 billion in funds. These, however, are all names you’re going to have to go through a couple of clicks to get to.
The first – and indeed only – name that instantly shows up is none other than Joseph Muscat.
The situation doesn’t get any better when you just straight-up Google “the most corrupt politician in the world”, with Joseph Muscat’s name showing up even quicker.
And when Google provides 11,000,000 search results in 0.50 seconds and you still manage to top the list, you’ve got to be special.
Muscat, who earlier this year stepped down as Malta’s Prime Minister after a chaotic end to 2019 which saw his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri being implicated in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and a couple of ministers resigning following corruption allegations, ended his tenure with a not-to-so-great international award.
In the final days of December 2019, the then-outgoing Prime Minister was awarded the ‘Man of the Year in Organised Crime and Corruption’ by international crime watchdog association OCCRP.
An “honour” bestowed upon anyone from Vladimir Putin to the entire Romanian Parliament, the OCCRP’s top spot for 2019 was reserved for Muscat.
“Under Muscat’s leadership,” the OCCRP had said, “criminality and corruption have flourished — and in many cases gone unpunished — in the small Mediterranean archipelago of Malta, creating an environment that led to the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, investigators and government critics say.”
And in fact, it’s mostly because of this award – and its international virality towards the end of 2019 – that Joseph Muscat has somehow managed to catapult himself ahead of the likes of Kim Jong Un. You know, that, or Siri is just a PN mouthpiece.
— Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (@OCCRP) December 27, 2019