Edward Scicluna and Joseph Muscat have spent the last year preparing you for this result bringing in all sorts of irrelevant considerations in order to diffuse the significance of this.
A year ago Edward Scicluna was arguing this was all Daphne Caruana Galizia’s fault. If she hadn’t investigated Pilatus Bank, if she hadn’t reported what she’d found, if she hadn’t reported Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi set themselves up in Panama, if the government’s wrongdoing was not revealed, Malta would not have been investigated for money laundering failures.
Which is rubbish since everyone has to get their turn going through Moneyval reviews and though it is expected for even the most sophisticated jurisdictions to have weaknesses when fighting money laundering, our systematic failures would have been impossible to hide.
Also a year ago he was arguing that Pilatus Bank would not have been shut down — and the FIAU admonished for not doing so sooner — had David Casa not drawn the attention of the European Central Bank.
Which is rubbish. Though David Casa’s efforts to bring the corrupt to account are almost unparalleled, his effort alone would not have gone anywhere had he not been demonstrating the corruption and money laundering that was actually happening.
Edward Scicluna and Joseph Muscat behaved as though they could wish this scandal away.
When that did not work they tried to cover it up getting forecast agencies to upgrade their rankings of Malta.
As Ryan Murdock writing in The Shift News a few months ago observed, a new credit ratings report recommending the stellar prospects of Malta’s economy turns up every time the government has to deal with some bad news.
Reconcile for a moment the news two days ago that Moody’s upgraded Malta’s credit rating to ‘A2 stable’ with the news that Malta failed 9 out of 11 tests run by Moneyval on anti-money laundering.
That’s like Forbes listing El Chapo among the most successful businessmen ever until he’s extradited to America to face life in prison for the crimes that made him that money.
The real issue here is not who you or I choose to rely upon — Moody’s or Moneyval. The issue is who investors are going to believe.
Rating agencies should not even be in business. The devastating 2008 crisis hit us like an iceberg. The credit agencies shivering on the crow’s nest saw nothing but clear seas ahead. They have repeatedly failed to detect near-defaults and financial disasters. They have failed to downgrade firms and countries in trouble.
As this assessment in The Conversation reported in 2016, credit rating agencies follow the market so it is market alerts that inform the credit rating agencies of trouble, not the other way round.
An investor hunting for a jurisdiction that would not contaminate them with a nasty anti-money laundering reputation would be reading Moneyval’s findings and making paper planes with Moody’s press release.
Edward Scicluna and Joseph Muscat want to tell you that in the last 6 years they brought us to an A2 rating on Moody’s chart. Yippee Ki Yay, motherfucke*s.
Edward Scicluna and Joseph Muscat brought us to bashing by Moneyval. They saw it coming from afar. They were preparing for just this result a year ago when the investigators first came here to start compiling their report.
Edward Scicluna and Joseph Muscat knew exactly what Moneyval investigators would find. They put it there, like a hidden corpse from an old murder they thought would never be discovered. They buried it there with the FIAU’s teeth, the police’s handcuffs and the Attorney General’s red fuzzy testicles.
And it was all to let Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad go. He didn’t go far.