Corruption probe exposes money trail linking Muscat to VGH / Malta News Dispatch – Wednesday 17 May 2023

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Corruption probe exposes money trail linking Muscat to VGH

As part of a corruption probe into former prime minister Joseph Muscat, investigators are examining payments totaling €60,000 from two Swiss companies, including one previously known as ‘VGH Europe’. Muscat maintains that the payments were made for legitimate work. The probe also involves Muscat’s involvement in talks for an unsuccessful bid to acquire Crystal Palace FC and the inclusion of Steward Health Care and the Gozo medical school contractor in the Swiss money trail. Additionally, Muscat received approximately €482,000 in consultancy payments during the year of his resignation. The investigation has extended to include a search of Konrad Mizzi’s residence, with his phone being seized. The focus of the investigation is to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing related to the hospitals’ deal in Muscat’s bank accounts and income declarations. (Times of Malta)

Muscat describes reports as frame-up

Former PM Joseph Muscat has expressed his determination to defend himself against allegations of receiving payments from a company connected to the controversial hospitals concession awarded during his time in office, even if he has to do so alone. Muscat asserted that the revelations from the corruption probe were a deliberate attempt to frame him. Furthermore he insisted that he does not fear arrest. (Newsbook)

EP elections slated for 8 June

The European Parliament election in Malta is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 8th next year. European Parliament President Roberta Metsola has confirmed that elections will be held in all 27 EU member states from June 6th to June 9th, 2024. Malta follows the tradition of holding elections on a Saturday, with an option for early voting provided a week prior for individuals who will be overseas during the election period. (Maltatoday)

Morning Briefing

PL says NAO report provides legitimacy to PM’s actions

The Labour Party insisted that the Auditor General’s report provides legitimacy to Prime Minister Robert Abela’s actions and refutes what it described as false information and cover-up by the Opposition regarding the three hospitals’ concessions. Minister Jonathan Attard, speaking to the media, stated that the report validates the government’s conscientious approach in serving the national interest since 2020. He emphasized that the Opposition has attempted to mislead the public on core principles and, in relation to the Court’s verdict, clarified that it does not attribute fraud to the Government. (TVM)

PN plans protest after damning NAO report on Govt handling of hospitals deal

The Nationalist Party plans to gather its supporters and demonstrators outside the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening to protest against the government’s handling of the Vitals-Steward hospitals privatisation deal. Opposition leader Bernard Grech has called upon the public to join in showing their disapproval of the Labour administration, particularly in light of the recently published third report by the National Audit Office on the privatisation deal.

NGO warns that Steward deal conspirators might be preparing to flee

NGO Repubblika has lodged a court application requesting the immediate arrest of Joseph Muscat, Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Ronald Mizzi and others implicated in the Steward Healthcare hospitals deal. This move comes after the National Audit Office released its third report on the concession, which found that Mizzi had orchestrated a €100 million exit clause for Steward by deceiving the Cabinet of ministers. Repubblika’s president, Robert Aquilina, announced in a press conference in front of the law courts in Valletta that the group has submitted an application to the magistrate overseeing the case, urging the inclusion of the latest audit report and acknowledgment of its conclusions. Aquilina also expressed concerns about individuals involved in the deal attempting to flee Malta and requested the court to take necessary measures to prevent the loss of evidence and ensure the immediate arrest of the main actors involved. (Times of Malta)

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