Joseph Muscat, Malta’s embattled prime minister, has been summoned to address the European Parliament’s committee on the Panama Papers scandal on May 18, weeks before the country goes to the polls for a snap election.
The timing of the call will come as an embarrassment to Muscat, who this week called an election for June 3 after, his critics claim, becoming embroiled in a funding row. His wife Michelle is alleged to have received $1 million from the daughter of Azerbaijan’s president through a company set up by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal.
The Maltese election should “not delay the inquiry of the European Parliament,” Green MEP Sven Giegold told local media.
“I have no problem appearing before any committee or parliament,” said Muscat, who claimed the opposition Nationalist Party, which belongs to the European People’s Party, was behind the move, even though Liberal and Green MEPs also made the demand. “The intervention is related to the lies that have been said about me.”
Earlier this week, the magistrate investigating Muscat and his wife summoned an anonymous whistleblower to testify. She claims to have seen sensitive documents proving that Michelle Muscat is the beneficial owner of a secret company set up by Mossack Fonseca.
Muscat has consistently denied all allegations against him, describing them as “the greatest lie in Malta’s political history.”