Following a 15-months long investigation, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle were given a clean chit. The inquiry found that both of them did not have any links with the company’s whose name were exposed in the Panama Papers.
The Attorney General stated that investigating agencies could not establish any link between the PM and his wife with the company named Egrant. The Prime Minister had denied all the allegations that were leveled against him after the Panama Papers expose.
Murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had made the allegations against Muscat’s wife stating that she owned a shell company in Panama through the law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Galizia was killed in a car accident in October last year six months after reporting the story. This had also led to a strong criticism of the government as the Opposition party and activist speculated the role of government in Galizia’s killing.
Amid strong opposition, Joseph Muscat announced early elections last year and came out victorious, sending out a message that the public was in his support. According to the Telegraph, the ruling was made after magistrate Aaron Bugeja took evidence from 477 witnesses including forensic experts.
“In the conclusions to his inquiry report, Magistrate Bugeja is unable to say with confidence that the Prime Minister is guiltless, nor can he state unequivocally that the allegations are false as he has been unable to prove the ownership of Egrant Inc,” Gazilia’s family members said in a statement after the ruling.
“The Maltese public is expected to simply accept as fact that we will never know for whom Egrant was set up. This is a dangerous notion that cannot coexist with democracy,” they added, as quoted by Telegraph.
The Prime Minister also addressed a press conference after the verdict and expressed his relief. “Michelle and I are both relieved this nightmare is over,” he was quoted as saying by Euronews.com.
The Panama Papers investigation was carried out by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and included high-profile names like former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, among others.