Minister Konrad Mizzi today flatly refused to explain how he intended to fund $1 million in deposits for a Panama account his financial advisers tried to open.

An e-mail revealed through the Panama Papers show that Dr Mizzi's financial advisers Nexia BT gave the go-ahead to open a bank account that would have required annual account financial flows of close to $1 million.

Challenged at a press conference today, Dr Mizzi initially declined to take questions on the Panama scandal.

Pressed further by journalists, Dr Mizzi then refused to explain the touted $1 million in deposits and instead took aim at The Times of Malta and The Malta Independent.

The minister said he had opened a number of libel cases against the two media houses over their reporting of the scandal.

Both papers were granted access to the Panama Papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Dr Mizzi was stripped of the health and energy portfolios when the Panama scandal had emerged, but remains active in the energy sector.

Dr Mizzi said the audit into his financial affairs was expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

Asked if his Panama company had been closed, Dr Mizzi again refused to answer.

Also present at the press conference on the EU Commission's approval of the power station deal was economist Gordon Cordina. Dr Cordina’s own advisory firm split from Nexia BT when the Panama scandal broke out.

Asked by The Times of Malta if he was comfortable working with Dr Mizzi, Dr Cordina said the work he had done with the government was related to the power station deal. 

Justice Minister sidesteps Panama Papers issue

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici sidestepped the Panama Papers issue when appearing in front of MEPs this morning.

He was asked about Malta's and the EU's credibility in the wake of news that Dr Mizzi would be chairing the EU energy council as part of Malta's presidency of the 28-member bloc.

Dr Bonnici and Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela appeared in front of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee of the European Parliament this morning as part of the customary exchanges related to the EU presidency.

While most questions focused on migration, a handful of MEPs also asked about corruption, the Panama Papers and the Individual Investment Programme.

Dr Bonnici told MEPs he was there representing the 28 member states and not just his country and avoided answering on domestic issues.

He did, however, insist that Malta was committed to register progress on pending EU legislation on criminalising money laundering and the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders.

The two ministers outlined Malta's priorities for the presidency.

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