George Degiorgio gets €10k as court rules wiretap breached privacy / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 19 October 2021

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Updated 1300 – Mid-Day Briefing

Covid-19 Update: 22 new COVID cases were reported by health authorities who on Tuesday said a further 21 people recovered. 13 people are hospitalised, 2 of whom are in the ITU.

Survey Finds Malta’s Attractiveness To Foreign Investors Declines 40% In Last Two Years:  The annual attractiveness survey carried out by EY Malta revealed that the number of investors who find the country attractive from a business viewpoint collapsed by 25% compared to last year. The percentage of respondents viewing Malta as attractive has declined for a second year in a row. Malta is now viewed as attractive for FDI by 37% of investors, while 46% believe it is not attractive. This is a significant decrease compared to 2020, when 62% of investors viewed Malta as attractive, and 25% believe that the country was not attractive. This decline in FDI attractiveness means that over the last two years, 40% of respondents shifted from the “yes” replies to the “no” or “don’t know.” When compared with previous years’ scoreboards, with a few exceptions, Malta has faced a general reduction in attractiveness across all FDI parameters.

George Degiorgio gets €10k as court rules wiretap breached privacy: George Degiorgio has been awarded €10,000 in damages after a court found that his right to privacy and family life were breached by an unauthorised phone tap. Degiorgio, who will face trial for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was challenging the validity of phone tapping laws, which authorities used to keep tabs on him. A court on Tuesday ruled that the Malta Security Services had breached Degiorgio’s right to privacy, though it also dismissed his claim that his right to a fair hearing had been breached.

Morning Briefing

PN leader Bernard Grech outlines party vision in Budget 2022 response

“We will prioritise the family – not money”, insisted Opposition Leader Bernard Grech as he delivered a scathing reply to Government’s proposed Budget 2022. The PN leader argued that the party was proposing a set of proposals intended to support families to improve their quality of life by working less hours and being able to dedicate more time to their families and hobbies. Labour, instead, pushed people to work more to make ends meet, he said. Grech promised more flexibility for all workers, not just those who take care of young children but also who take care of relatives, elderly or are studying or getting training.

Grech also announced that in the first budget of a new PN administration, Governmentw would extend the maximum tax bracket from 60,000 euro to 80,000 euro, guaranteeing 2,000 euro per year more in the pockets of families. He also announced a reduction of VAT on services offered by hotels and restaurants to 7%.

Besides laying out his party’s vision for the future, Grech also tore into Labour’s budget, saying that the changes in energy working are an admission of guilt, through which families are losing out up to a 100 euro per bill. “All this while Electrogas get a 40 million bonus”. The PN is also proposing that all persons older than 60 should get free access to their family doctor and the introduction of a mechanism, independently of COLA, to ensure that pensions went up every year by twice the cost of living adjustment to workers.

A future PN government would promote the concept of car pooling and car sharing as a means of reducing the number of cars on the roads and the pressure on parking. While agreeing with the free buses concept, Grech promised a new PN Government would also have all buses turned electric by 2025.

iGaming company PressEnter to relocate HQ to Malta

IGaming company PressEnter has chosen Malta as its headquarters creating 150 new jobs in the process. Chief Executive of PressEnter Lahcene said that, when they were searching for a location to continue with their expansion, their focus fell on several European jurisdictions, but that it was immediately decided to expand in Malta.
“A key factor is that Malta offers the best sought after talent in this industry, as well as the support that this sector requires, including the good relationship between the regulator, the Malta Gaming Authority and Gaming Malta,” said Mr Lahcene. Regarding Malta’s greylisting, Mr Lahcene stated that, despite this, Malta remains the best choice for several companies within the sector. On this subject, both Minister Schembri and Mr Lahcene noted the commitment on both sides so that everyone involved pulls the same rope, so that Malta emerges successfully from this list.

Covid-19 Update
Coronavirus active cases in Malta remained stable at 271 after 11 new cases and recoveries were recorded on Monday, according to health authorities. 12 persons are being treated in hospital.

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