As published on newsbook.com, Thursday 28th March, 2019.
MEPs are demanding an investigation into Malta’s links to the Panama Papers and ’17 Black’.
European legislators today passed a resolution which calls for an investigation into Malta’s links to the Panama Papers, ’17 Black’ and the high-profile individuals connected to the secret company, Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri.
The resolution concludes the findings of investigations by the EP’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on the rule of law in both Malta and Slovakia, in the wake of the murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak (and his fiancée).
398 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution which responds to what are ‘continuous efforts of a growing number of EU member state governments to weaken the rule of law, the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary’
They state that the journalist’s murders had ‘a chilling effect on journalists” across the EU. It recalls that a strong democracy based on the rule of law cannot function without strong and independent media.’
For this, the MEPs were also requesting an ‘independent international public inquiry’ carried out by both the EU and member states, in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and ‘the alleged cases of corruption, financial crimes, money laundering, fraud and tax evasion’ involving key officials in public office, which she had reported on.
Inclusive with this was the insistence that all of the libel cases which had been brought against her and her family by the Government were dropped.
The EP also called for the immediate termination of the residence and investor citizenship schemes, believing these schemes to be the actual selling of citizenship and a ‘serious risk’ to effort to combat anti-money laundering.
Responding to the resolution, Chair of the Rule of Law Monitoring Group MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld said, ‘European pressure and cooperation can certainly lead to results. There is evidence of this: thanks to the cooperation with Europol, the Slovaks could arrest the suspects in the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová and due to the EU’s pressure, the Maltese government is now slowly gearing into action to modernise problematic laws.’