Konrad Mizzi refuses to say how he planned to fund $1 million in deposits annually for Panama account
Minister Konrad Mizzi flatly refused to explain how he intended to fund $1 million in deposits for a Panama account his financial advisers tried to open when pressed by journalists at a press conference yesterday morning.
The Panama Papers scandal had revealed that Dr Mizzi’s financial advisers Nexia BT had given the go-ahead to open a bank account that would have necessitated an annual account financial flow of close to $1 million.
Minister Mizzi also refused to say whether his Panama company is still open, adding that the facts will all be revealed shortly.
The Malta Independent asked him if his company is still open today. In a ministerial statement, Dr Mizzi had claimed that the company would be closed off following the conclusion of an international audit. The Malta Independent has reported that the audit has been concluded.
He declined to answer and instead said that he has cooperated in full, has always been truthful and that the conclusion of the audit would be made known “soon”.
Pressed on some form of timeframe for when the public would be made aware of the conclusions of the audit, Dr Mizzi refused to concretely say when we can expect this.
Further pressed on whether he was aware of the date but did not want to divulge, or whether he himself was unaware of when the government would go public with this, he again declined to comment.
Dr Mizzi repeatedly said that he has subjected himself to more intense scrutiny than any other politician has been willing to do, and brought up a money laundering investigation that is linked with a company of which Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party Beppe Fenech Adami is a director.
Dr Mizzi said he had opened a number of libel cases against both The Times and The Malta Independent over their reporting of the scandal.
Both papers were granted access to the Panama Papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Such questions by the press were made at a conference detailing the process by which the Commission approved state aid between Enemalta and Electrogas. Alongside Dr Mizzi was economist and director of E-Cubed Consultants Gordon Cordina. Dr Cordina and his staff had left NexiaBT after the scandal involving Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi was revealed.
The Panama Papers revealed that Dr Mizzi and the OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri held a company in Panama and a trust in New Zealand. This was facilitated through the offices of Nexia BT under Brian Tonna.
Asked whether Mr Cordina is comfortable working alongside Dr Mizzi at this point, he said that he has no problems being part of the technical team, and looks forward to working with the government on such projects.
In a statement, the Nationalist Party said that for the second day running, Konrad Mizzi had refused to answer questions about his company in Panama.
Konrad Mizzi does not deserve to be in politics; his presence is insulting to all politicians who dedicate their time to improving the quality of life of the people.
Worse than this is Joseph Muscat’s defence and his refusal to be interviewed in the media, which increases suspicions of his involvement, the PN said.