HomeWorldMalta’s government in turmoil as top officials accused of taking bribes

Malta’s government in turmoil as top officials accused of taking bribes

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Malta’s government has been plunged into turmoil after several top officials were accused of taking bribes.

A former prime minister, the current deputy prime minister and the governor of the central bank are among the most high-profile figures to be accused of taking bribes and money laundering in a multibillion-euro hospital deal.

Also embroiled in the scandal are politicians, lawyers, accountants and businessmen.

Public trust in the tiny Mediterranean island’s institutions is already low after years of corruption allegations.

In 2017, Daphne Caruana Galizia, an investigative journalist, was killed in a car bomb, an assassination in which several public figures were accused of being complicit.

The latest scandal in the EU’s smallest member revolves around a contentious hospital privatisation deal, worth around €4 billion, that has been the subject of a long-running investigation.

Joseph Muscat will become the first ex-prime minister in Malta’s history to face criminal charges, including corruption in public office, accepting bribes, setting up a criminal association and money laundering.

Mr Muscat, who resigned in 2019 after members of his entourage were implicated in the murder of Caruana Galizia, denies the accusations.

“If they weren’t so serious, the accusations against me would be laughable,” he wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. “It will be my pleasure to dismantle each of these accusations and show how they are not built just on fantasies, but also on lies.”

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