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Konrad Mizzi admits breach of tax law - says Panama company was worth €92

Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi had admitted that the New Zealand trust he set up was not registered with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue as required by law, saying his advisers were not aware of the provision.

Speaking on Dissett he declared it was the company Nexia BT that had advised him to set up his New Zealand Trust and to acquire a Panama company.

“Last week I sought more advice and asked lawyers to look at all the laws to make sure I had done nothing wrong. They told me there was a notification, hardly used, in a legal notice.

“We looked for this notification letter on the Inland Revenue’s website but didn’t find anything. We found it in a legal notice but it was an old formula that still used Maltese lira. My advisers didn’t know about it. I told them to rectify it,” he said.

Former finance minister Tonio Fenech asked in Parliament on Monday whether Dr Mizzi had registered his trust with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue within 30 days of it being set up, as required the Inland Revenue Management Act.

It was an old formula that still used Maltese lira 

The Times of Malta also asked the minister to specify when and where he had declared the trust. He offered the same reply he had repeatedly made, saying he would disclose it in his ministerial declaration of assets.

Questions put to the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, on his New Zealand trust and company in Panama – similar to the minister’s financial structure – remain unanswered.

In his TV comments, Dr Mizzi said he had only invested €92 in his company in Panama.

He also said that he was persuaded to set up a trust in New Zealand to manage his family’s assets after a discussion with Mr Schembri, who had several trusts in view of his businesses before his current role.

He said that Mr Schembri had been consulting his advisers and he then decided to do likewise with the same advisers, and they produced a trust for him that was slightly different as the beneficiaries and purpose were different. 

 

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