niedziela, 26 maja, 2024
Strona głównaMalta'sMalta's Central Bank Governor Charged With Fraud And Misappropriation Of Funds

Malta’s Central Bank Governor Charged With Fraud And Misappropriation Of Funds

Malta’s Central Bank Governor Charged With Fraud And Misappropriation Of Funds

They say central bankers can always print money out thin air: in this one case, however, the head of Malta’s central bank could desperately do with a bigger money printer, or at least a much better attorney.

Malta’s attorney general filed charges of fraud and misappropriation of funds against Central Bank of Malta Governor Edward Scicluna as well sa the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, Reuters reports citing court documents. At the same time, in what appears to be a sweeping crackdown on regime corruption, more serious corruption charges have also been leveled against former prime minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff and a former health minister – all in connection with a hospital privatization scandal dating back to 2015.

The charges follow a four-year inquiry instigated by the opposition Nationalist Party over a deal which handed management of three state hospitals to a previously unknown group, which had no experience in the medical sector.

The 30-year deal, which was conservatively valued at 4 billion euros ($4.23 billion), was annulled by Malta’s highest court in February after it found fraud.

Scicluna was finance minister and Fearne was a junior health minister at the time of the deal. Scicluna, who is a member of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, has not commented on the accusations, but has previously denied any wrongdoing. Fearne has rejected the charges.

„I have absolutely no doubt that the court will find nothing other than my complete innocence,” he said in a statement.

Edward Scicluna

Muscat, chief of staff Keith Schembri and former minister Konrad Mizzi face charges of money laundering, corruption, bribery, trading in influence and setting up a criminal association. All three men have denied the accusations.

Muscat resigned in January 2020 after media revealed that he and Schembri had a close friendship with businessman Yorgen Fenech, who is awaiting trial for complicity in the 2017 car bomb murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Muscat has not been linked to the murder investigation, at least not yet.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has criticised the way the inquiry was conducted and has defended Fearne, saying he would remain in office and had no doubt about his integrity.

However, he has not confirmed whether he will press ahead with previously announced plans to nominate him next month as Malta’s next European Commissioner.

No date had been announced for the formal court arraignments when the accused will be asked to file a plea.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 05/10/2024 – 04:15

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