JUSTICE MINISTER REJECTS ZUCCARO'S STATEMENTS
Owen Bonnici, the Maltese Minister of Justice dismissed statements made by the procurator of Catania, Carmelo Zuccaro who stated that the Maltese authorities did not cooperate with the Italian authorities investigating oil smuggling to Italy.
The Ministry of Justice described the allegations as “unreasonable, false and unfair”. But procurator Zuccaro accused the Maltese authorities of not responding for 18 months to an international co-operation request. The Maltese Justice Minister has negated the allegations regarding this case of organized crime. “The Attorney General’s Office in Malta has initiated proceedings at local courts to gather the evidence required”, added Minister Bonnici.
The minister confirmed that magistrate Claire Micallef Stafrace has already held two sessions for the collection of evidence requested by the Italian authorities and a third session is already scheduled for the coming days. The Italian procurator said that there is a possibility that the oil smuggling and the assassination of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galicia are connected. He confirmed that Caruana Galizia had mentioned some names in her blog that result to be the same as those in his investigation. According to Maltese investigators, it appears that Caruana Galizia was recently investigating the Maltese connection to oil smuggling from Libya to Italy.