‘It’s there,’ Robert Abela declared yesterday. ‘Black on white. The inquiry declared Egrant Inc belonged to Brian Tonna.’
The Egrant inquiry is more than 1,500 pages long. Robert Abela’s interviewer yesterday did not have a copy handy. Mark Laurence Zammit did recall the inquiry report was concerned with establishing whether Egrant belonged to Joseph Muscat rather than to whom it actually belonged if it wasn’t the former prime minister or his wife.
But Robert Abela was going to bluff his way through.
First, clearly, the inquiry does not conclude Egrant did not belong to Joseph and Michelle Muscat. The inquiry concluded that it did not find the evidence to reach that conclusion. There is abundant analysis on why the inquiry did not look where it should have and in any case not the subject of today’s discussion.
Does the inquiry say “black on white” that Egrant belonged to Brian Tonna? In a manner of speaking, yes. But it says so (on page 325) in the same context where it says that at some point in their existence Egrant, Hearnville and Tillgate all belonged to Brian Tonna.
“The evidence compiled by this inquiry confirms that the three companies Tillgate Inc, Hearnville Inc u Egrant Inc were set up in Panama by Mossack Fonseca. The evidence confirms the companies were identical. And the evidence confirms the three companies were purchased by Brian Tonna using the services of Karl Cini and BTI Management Limited at the same time. The evidence also confirms that Brian Tonna directed Mossack Fonseca to provide nominee services for one share and they should provide directors. Up to July 2015, the three companies had identical histories.”
The inquiry then continues to say that it found evidence for the destinies of Tillgate and Hearnville which as we know went to Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.
So the fact that the inquiry did say that Egrant belonged to Brian Tonna, at some point, does not mean that the company was destined to remain his.
Many things are “black on white” in the world of money laundering, corruption, “tax structuring” and layering. “Black on white” Egrant was owned by Panamanian sundry lawyers, clerks and cleaning ladies. Its directors were also directors of tens of thousands of other companies, many of them administering assets belonging to cartel drug lords, corrupt prime ministers, rock stars, tax-dodging oil tycoons, arms dealers and so on.
That’s all “black on white” but it means fuck all.
And frankly, while we’re at it, let’s cut the talk about what one “believes” or doesn’t “believe”. Both Robert Abela and Mark Laurence Zammit speak a lot about “believes” in this clip. This is not an act of faith. It’s not about angels, the afterlife, or 40 days stricken off purgatory for a pater-ave-gloria underneath an eroded stone statue. Belief has nothing to do with it.
This is about facts. The Egrant inquiry did not find affirmative evidence it was prepared to accept that confirmed Egrant was Joseph Muscat’s. But Robert Abela has just as much reason to assert that what Brian Tonna said he did with Egrant is proof positive that that is what happened.
There’s one other fact. Brian Tonna is a corrupt, lying bastard. “Believe” him and you’re one too.