Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

MALTA INSULTS EU PANAMA PAPERS COMMITTEE: BANANA REPUBLIC IN THE MEDITERRANEAN



As you know, in the aftermath of the release of the so-called Panama Papers, the European Union formed a committee, to insure that its member countries complied with its stance on tax evasion and money laundering. Unfortunately, senior government officials in Malta have chosen to make themselves unavailable, when the EU committee visits the island, to conduct interviews, claiming one lame excuse or another prevents them from meeting with committee members.

We all know why Malta's officials are avoiding talking to anyone that might ask the tough questions:  two of its most senior government leaders have themselves been exposed in the Panama Papers documents. Some bogus Maltese legal opinion about the status of the committee's powers has also been thrown around, to support the refusal of the country's officials to appear and answer questions.

Corruption and money laundering in Malta have been a topic discussed by compliance officers for many years. A decade ago, an article I wrote about a money laundering case in Malta drew the anger of government officials, who expressed their displeasure at what they regarded as news they did not want to appear in the media. The fact that it was true did not seem to matter. Is Malta an EU member, which is a banana republic, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea ?

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