Malta’s Joseph Muscat Accused of Further Corruption

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Malta’s former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is once again embroiled in a scandal after reports surfaced that he was paid a monthly consultancy contract of €11,800 from a company that had links to the Dragonara casino boss.

He started receiving the payments as part of a €141,600 annual contract with an exotic bird company that was owned by Johann Schembri, the casino tycoon. According to reports, the payments began just 9 months after the property lease deal for Schembri’s casino was extended.

Muscat was in charge of overseeing the deal that reduced the yearly ground rent payments and extended the property lease by 64 years without a public tender, thereby saving the casino millions.

Documents obtained by the media revealed that Muscat began receiving monthly payments from Organicum, a company owned by Schembri, after he resigned as prime minister but was still a member of parliament.

Organicum’s financial documents show that it deals with breeding exotic birds and making organic produce. The company has biological assets of €100,000, employs two people, and declared massive losses in 2020 and 2021, which raised concerns about Muscat’s consultancy contract.

Muscat has denied any wrongdoing but he would not comment on the consultancy agreement. Schembri said that the contract was unrelated to the Dragonara casino deal and that the company holding the casino concession, Dragonara Gaming Limited, “has never paid any consultancy fees to Dr. Joseph Muscat.”

What Consequences Could This Investigation Bring?

The implications of this scandal for Malta are primarily centered around questions of ethics, transparency, and potential conflicts of interest. It may raise concerns about the integrity of the decision-making process regarding the casino lease extension and the involvement of public officials in private consultancy arrangements with entities linked to the gaming industry.

The situation may lead to calls for further investigations, regulatory reforms, or increased scrutiny of political and business connections in Malta.

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