July 22, 2018 / 11:45 AM / a month ago

Maltese PM's wife cleared in inquiry over offshore shell company

VALLETTA (Reuters) - An inquiry has found no evidence that the wife of Malta’s prime minister benefited from a secret offshore company, contrary to allegations by murdered reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia.

FILE PHOTO: Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle arrive to attend The Queen's Dinner during The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London on April 19, 2018. Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

Malta’s attorney general said on Sunday that the 15-month investigation had failed to establish any links between the family of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Panama-based Egrant.

“A hundred suspicions do not make one certain fact,” it said in a statement.

The inquiry was launched after allegations by Caruana Galizia, an investigative journalist who died last October in a car bomb attack, that Muscat’s wife Michelle owned a shell company established by Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Muscat had denied the claims that his wife received money from the daughter of energy-rich Azerbaijan’s president through that company.

To counter a mounting backlash triggered by the accusations and the investigation, Muscat last year called an election in which he gained a larger parliamentary majority.

“Michelle and I are both relieved this nightmare is over,” he said on Sunday.

Reporting by Chris Scicluna, writing by Valentina Za; editing by Jason Neely

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