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The politics of rotten swimmers

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2019-02-13T11:27:27+00:00Wed, 13th Feb '19, 10:28|

The government will try to keep the bluefin tuna corruption scandal strictly at the administrative level. The phone records published in the Spanish press yesterday concern a civil servant and from what we know she did not solicit bribes on behalf of anyone but herself. But there are other complications here. Andreina Fenech Farrugia was [...]

It’s not just the fish that hurt

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2019-02-13T09:18:33+00:00Wed, 13th Feb '19, 09:18|

One is often tempted to assume that corruption is a victimless crime and one can afford to ignore it. The corruption that protects crime happening beyond our horizon on the vast seas that surround us and on which we hold a flimsy claim, even if it sheds blood, is far enough from our eyes to [...]

Council of Europe partners: “no credible indications Malta is investigating who commissioned Daphne assassination”

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2019-02-12T15:53:19+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 15:53|

Organisations engaged as partners by the Council of Europe to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists see no “credible indications that Maltese authorities are diligently investigation who planned and commissioned the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia”. The report was authored by the European Federation of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, [...]

So long, and thanks for all the fish

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2019-02-12T15:03:23+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 15:03|

At 9.45 am, Malta Today posted comments by Charlon Gouder calling for the removal of the Director General of Fisheries as a result of the revelations in the Spanish press of a corruption racket in the industry he lobbies for. That’s the same time, to the minute, that Ivan Martin of Times of Malta was [...]

Summing it up

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2019-02-12T14:22:59+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 14:22|

Yesterday the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee finalised a motion for the European Parliament's plenary that would call on the government to publish the Egrant inquiry in full and to stop the ignoble passport scheme. For brevity is the soul of wit, here's Roberta Metsola's intervention at the Committee meeting yesterday. https://www.facebook.com/roberta.metsola/videos/vb.406824526101449/2535209209853665/?type=2&theater

GUEST POST: Things Owen left out

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2019-02-12T14:23:28+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 14:18|

The European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3), summoned the Maltese Justice Minister Owen Bonnici to answer questions on Malta’s failure to investigate alleged money laundering in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, exposed by the Panama Papers.  The Panama Papers, back in 2016, revealed that Malta Prime [...]

Malta nominated Andreina Fenech Farrugia to chair the international body for conservation of tuna

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2019-02-12T12:55:11+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 12:55|

Now disgraced Andreina Fenech Farrugia, who until her suspension this morning was Director-General for Fisheries, was nominated in 2017 by the government to chair the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The Commission, based in Madrid, Spain, is set up by international treaty to promote limits on over-fishing for tuna and tuna-like [...]

UPDATED: Trust me, he pleads.

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2019-02-13T11:09:45+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 12:20|

13 February, 2019. 11:08. Adds video of David Casa's intervention. Watching Owen Bonnici and then Matthew Caruana Galizia field questions at the special tax evasion committee of the European Parliament yesterday was a spectacle in contrasts. I don’t think Owen Bonnici has much hope in reading a favourable review. But boy, that guy is really [...]

No, wait. So we fire people on the back of allegations now?

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2019-02-12T12:30:54+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 10:33|

In record time the government acted on allegations of corruption this morning. A story published on a Spanish newspaper at 5 am this morning said Andreina Fenech Farrugia, until then Director General of the Fisheries Department, solicited bribes to allow “fish laundering”. That’s allowing a tuna company (the one we know of) to fatten more [...]

Spanish Police intercepted calls of Maltese Fisheries Director soliciting bribes — Spanish news website

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2019-02-12T09:40:52+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 09:40|

Spanish online news-site El Confidencial reported today that the Benemerita (the Spanish civil police) have intercepted phone conversations that “reveal that Malta’s Fisheries boss collaborated with a criminal network that illegally fished and commercialised tuna”. The report is based on a conversation on 20 June 2018 where the Director General of the Department of Fisheries [...]

GUEST POST: Corruption under the carpet (2)

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2019-02-12T12:29:49+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 09:09|

The first part of Annika Palome’s review of the aftermath of the Panama Papers was posted yesterday. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat aspires for Malta to be known as a modern hub of financial services, cryptocurrencies and “the fastest growing economy in Europe”. However, Panama Papers revelations about his Chief of Staff and a government Minister [...]

US government says Washington “may limit ties with nations partnering with Huawei”

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2019-02-12T08:51:07+00:00Tue, 12th Feb '19, 08:51|

It’s going to become every harder for our own government to remain silent over an increasingly hard line taken by Western countries against the penetration of Huawei technology in Europe. Malta is committed to a close partnership with Huawei and 5G technology here is being rolled out exclusively using Huawei technology. There are signs that [...]

Owen Bonnici to answer questions in the EP on Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi’s money laundering

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2019-02-11T17:23:00+00:00Mon, 11th Feb '19, 16:27|

The European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance is holding a special session on Malta this afternoon. It will follow up on correspondence with the government about Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri discovered setting up money laundering vehicles in Panama and New Zealand and our institutions doing nothing about it. Justice [...]

Domestic violence: the raw deal

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2019-02-11T11:22:21+00:00Mon, 11th Feb '19, 11:22|

Magistrate Joe Mifsud’s decision to acquit Anton Refalo of the charge of domestic violence after the police arraigned him for beating his 16-year-old son has some implications that need further discussion. Here’s one. Anton Refalo was not acquitted because the court felt he was justified in beating his son. Certainly, many people found the circumstances [...]

Selective amnesia

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2019-02-11T10:03:16+00:00Mon, 11th Feb '19, 10:03|

Raphael Vassallo consumed columns of yesterday’s Malta Today starting out by saying he would reply point by point to my ’13 reasons why’ free speech in Malta is threatened. As far as I can figure out he gives up at point 4. But that’s fine. You distil his argument and it’s quite simple. You’ve heard [...]

GUEST POST: Corruption under the carpet

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2019-02-11T09:04:05+00:00Mon, 11th Feb '19, 09:04|

This is the first of two parts of Annika Palome's review of the aftermath of the Panama Papers. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. The Court of Appeals has blocked a magisterial inquiry into possible money laundering allegedly committed by members of Joseph Muscat’s Cabinet and exposed by the Panama Papers. The inquiry was requested [...]

Repubblika asks EC to act as Malta fails to implement EU anti-money laundering law when facing corrupt politicians

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2019-02-11T09:31:58+00:00Sun, 10th Feb '19, 11:35|

Repubblika has submitted formally to the European Commission a complaint on the breach of European laws by the Maltese authorities that are not enforcing anti-money laundering laws in respect of persons in power. The legal basis in EU law for Repubblika’s complaint is the following:  Breach of the provisions of Directive 2005/60/EC (AML3) as succeeded [...]

Anton Refalo acquitted of domestic violence charge after son and wife refused to testify

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2019-02-08T17:54:32+00:00Fri, 8th Feb '19, 17:11|

Labour MP and former Minister Anton Refalo has been acquitted by Magistrate Joe Mifsud from the charge of domestic violence after his son, whom he was accused to have beaten, refused to testify against his father. There were no other eye-witnesses to the incident except Anton Refalo's wife who also refused to testify. The Magistrate [...]