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Watch: 'More spin from David Casa' – Konrad Mizzi

Minister says MEP report is 'nothing new'

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Updated at 6.15pm: Adds David Casa's reaction

A damning European Parliament report about Malta is nothing but spin aimed at raising questions about the credibility of the government, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said this afternoon. 

In his first reaction to the MEPs’ report published on Thursday following a fact-finding mission in Malta last year, Dr Mizzi dismissed the conclusions as “nothing new”, insisting this was “more spin from David Casa”.

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and Dr Mizzi were both mentioned in the Panama Papers as holders of secretly opened identical structures in Panama.

The report points out that keeping such politicians in office affected the government’s credibility, fuelled a perception of impunity and could result in further damage to State interests by enabling the continuation of criminal activity.

Questioned about it this afternoon, Dr Mizzi insisted he had always been “forward” in his arguments, presenting all the truth on the matter.

Watch: 'We take our decisions': Muscat dismisses MEP calls for dismissals

“What was said yesterday is nothing new. It’s more spin from David Casa. Essentially it’s his arguments and his points put forward.

Focus on Air Malta

Dr Mizzi said that his main focus was to rectify the situations put in front of him. This, he said, was what he had done with Air Malta which started off with a €100 million loss, and was now at €40 million profit.

"We started with high tariffs, we’ve reduced them by 25 per cent,” the minister said.

Pressed to say whether he would be reconsidering staying in office, despite the report stating this may result in further damage to State interests by enabling the continuation of criminal activity, Dr Mizzi said that it was “absurd” that criminal activity was being alleged.

“They didn’t even mention that. They just refer to allegations and the allegations are wrong, they’re false. I’ve published a full audit,” Dr Mizzi said.

The reference to criminal activity is made in the MEPs’ list of national-level recommendations.

“I have no further comments. I look forward to working on the tourism sector and transforming Air Malta.”

A lot more to come - David Casa

Reacting, Mr Casa said the report represented the position of all political parties in the European Parliament.

To say that the report's conclusion was because of my influence was an affront to the institution as a whole.

"The evidence that he is a crook is already overwhelming. And there is still a lot more to come," Mr Casa said.

 

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