Mizzi and Schem­bri to file new li­bel cases against Caru­ana Gal­izia over fresh Azer­bai­jan al­le­ga­tions

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Min­is­ter Kon­rad Mizzi and Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter Chief of Staff Keith Schem­bri yes­ter­day evening said they will be open­ing two more li­bel cases against jour­nal­ist Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia over fresh ac­cu­sa­tions she made on her blog that their Pana­ma­nian com­pa­nies re­ceived large amounts funds from Azer­bai­jan.

The two new li­bel cases fol­low two oth­ers in­sti­tuted by Dr Mizzi and Mr Schem­bri over re­lated sub­ject mat­ter Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia pub­lished on her blog last Satur­day. Dr Mizzi and Mr Schem­bri will also that the cases, as with the two oth­ers, be heard by the courts with ur­gency.

Mrs Caru­ana Gal­izia yes­ter­day al­leged that, “A com­pany owned by Leyla Aliyeva, one of the two daugh­ters of Il­ham Aliyev, ruler of Azer­bai­jan, trans­ferred very large sums of money, de­scribed as “loan pay­ments”, to Hearnville Inc [owned by Mizzi], Till­gate Inc [owned by Schem­bri] and Egrant Inc [owner un­known] last year.”

In a state­ment is­sued in the wake of the al­le­ga­tion, which re­mains un­sub­stan­ti­ated, Mr Schem­bri said, “For the umpteenth time, Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia has re­sorted to lies and fab­ri­ca­tions. My com­pa­nies, or me per­son­ally, have never re­ceived, dealt or oth­er­wise had any form of com­mer­cial re­la­tion or oth­er­wise with Al Sahra FZCO or Ms Leyla Aliyeva, any mem­ber of Il­ham Aliyev’s fam­ily, or any other Azer­bai­jani na­tional or per­son with in­ter­ests in Azer­bai­jan.

“As stated nu­mer­ous times, Till­gate Inc, has never had a bank ac­count any­where in the world, never traded or ever re­ceived any funds or en­tered into any com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ship. The com­pany has been au­dited ex­ten­sively and all the above has been con­firmed by the in­ter­na­tional au­di­tors.” Min­is­ter Mizzi’s of­fice is­sued a state­ment shortly after­ward say­ing that, “Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia is again ly­ing out­right.”

Dr Mizzi’s of­fice said: “As with other re­cent al­le­ga­tions made by Caru­ana Gal­izia, th­ese al­le­ga­tions are false and Min­is­ter Mizzi re­jects the as­ser­tions in the strong­est terms pos­si­ble. No sum of money was ever trans­ferred to Hearnville Inc. No funds from Azer­bai­jan, or from any per­son re­lated to Azer­bai­jan, were ever trans­ferred in any way to Min­is­ter Mizzi or to any mem­ber of his fam­ily. Nei­ther does Min­is­ter Mizzi or any mem­ber of his fam­ily have any re­la­tion­ship with Il­ham Aliyev or any mem­ber of the lat­ter’s fam­ily.

“Min­is­ter Mizzi had re­quested trus­tees to com­mis­sion an in­de­pen­dent au­dit of the New Zealand fam­ily trust and of Hearnville Inc. The trus­tees have en­gaged Crowe Hor­wath, one of the largest pub­lic au­dit and ac­count­ing firms in the world, and the au­dit has es­tab­lished that the fi­nan­cial state­ments of the struc­ture were pre­sented fairly, in all ma­te­rial re­spects and in ac­cor­dance with ac­count­ing poli­cies. The au­di­tors have con­firmed that the ev­i­dence they ob­tained was suf­fi­cient and ap­pro­pri­ate to pro­vide a ba­sis for their au­dit opin­ion. This con­firmed that the struc­ture is solely in­tended as a fam­ily trust and that no bank ac­counts were held by the trust and com­pany.”

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