May 29, 2023 3 min read


Former Malta PM Muscat Allegedly Paid for Saving Casino Millions

The company paying the money is dealing with exotic birds, has only two employees and has declared hundreds of thousands of losses

Former Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is at the center of yet another scandal after a media report claims he has been given an €11,800 ($12,300) monthly consultancy contract from a company linked with the Dragonara casino boss.

Exotic Bird Company Used as a Front?

Muscat started receiving the lucrative monthly payments as part of a €141,600 ($151,500) annual consultancy contract with an exotic bird company owned by casino tycoon Johann Schembri just nine months after the property lease deal for the casino owned by Schembri was extended, reported Times of Malta.

Muscat, who had to step down as Prime Minister in January 2020, following allegations of protecting people involved with the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017, was responsible for overseeing the deal which slashed the annual ground rent payments and extended the property lease for the prime St Julian’s site by 64 years without a public tender, saving millions for the casino.

According to documents obtained by the media, in April 2020, just three months after Muscat resigned as Prime Minister and while still a member of the parliament, he began receiving monthly payments from Organicum, a company owned by Dragonara casino managing director and shareholder Johann Schembri.

Financial documents reveal that Organicum deals with breeding exotic birds and making organic produce, has biological assets worth €100,000 ($107,000), employs just two people, and has declared hundreds of thousands of losses in 2020 and 2021, raising concerns about Muscat’s lucrative consultancy contract.

Both Parties Deny Any Wrongdoings

Contacted for comments, the former prime minister denied any wrongdoings but refused to comment on the consultancy agreement, and instead, chose to attack the media for being “hell-bent on characterizing legitimate and documented work” he does “as in some way untoward.”

Schembri defended the consultancy contract, claiming that it is unrelated to the Dragonara casino deal and “any statement, suggestion or inference to the contrary is refuted as entirely untrue, incorrect and purely speculative” and that the company holding the casino concession, Dragonara Gaming Limited, “has never paid any consultancy fees to Dr. Joseph Muscat.”

Muscat is also involved in a corruption probe into another monthly consultancy contract worth €15,000 ($16,050) with a Swiss company, Accutor AG,  which was allegedly used as a front to pass on kickbacks from the acquisition deal for Vitals hospitals by Steward Healthcare Malta in 2018.

Casino tycoon Schembri is a major player in the gambling sector of the island country. Last year, his umbrella company, IZI Group, was awarded the running of the national lottery.

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With 4 years experience as an analyst, Julie—or ‘Jewels’, as we aptly refer to her in the office—is nothing short of a marvel-worthy in her attention to the forex and cryptocurrency space as she quickly became the first pick to co-pilot education to the masses with Mike.

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