Kon­rad Mizzi re­fuses to say how he planned to fund $1 mil­lion in de­posits an­nu­ally for Panama ac­count

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

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.

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