The government has rejected claims made by former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil that it had "something to hide" by opting out of being a member of the European Public Prosecutor's Office.

The EPPO had nothing to do with murder prosecutions, as incorrectly implied by Dr Busuttil, but has the function of probing and carrying out prosecutions on the EU's budget and financial interests.

In a statement, the Justice Ministry said Malta's decision not to join this office was based on sound technical reasons agreed between the government and opposition, then led by Dr Busuttil himself. This was confirmed by Speaker Anglu Farrugia.

"The reasons Malta doesn't form part of the EPPO is based on the principle of subsidiarity, the right for a country to retain certain sectors under its control," the ministry said.

Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Poland and the UK have also chosen not to be part of the office.

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