Muscat voted person of the year in crime and corruption – OCCRP

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

PM Joseph Muscat was voted as the 2019 person of the year in organised crime and corruption by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

In a statement the OCCRP said that a panel of experts in the field of organized crime, corruption, and terrorism unanimously selected Muscat as OCCRP’s Person of the Year in Organized Crime and Corruption. The annual award shines a light on an individual or institution that has done the most to advance organized criminal activity and corruption in a given year. 

According to the OCCRP, the judges agreed that under Muscat’s leadership, money laundering and corruption have gone unpunished and, in some cases, flourished in Malta.

Other finalists for 2019 included: 

  • US President Donald Trump, who is accused of breaking the law by pressuring Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate a political rival in the upcoming 2020 US presidential election. He faces a Senate impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
  • Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s self-proclaimed personal attorney, who is under federal investigation into whether he illegally put pressure on Ukraine to pursue a conspiracy theory involving the president’s political rival.
  • Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, the son of the longtime president of the Republic of Congo, who is accused in a corruption scheme that saw US$50 million siphoned off from the Congolese treasury. He was also implicated in a 2018 OCCRP investigation and accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes — along with other family members — to unlock Congo’s oil fields.

In the end, the OCCRP judging panel believed the actions of Malta’s prime minister constituted the most extreme form of corruption. 

“Failed political leadership, like that exercised by this man, represent the current crisis shaking the foundations — freedom of speech and rule of law — of the European Union,” said Saska Cvetkovska, editor-in-chief of the Investigative Reporting Lab in Macedonia and a member of OCCRP’s board of directors.

“Every year we give out this award to draw attention to the brazen corruption political leaders engage in. Its disappointing that there are so many people deserving of this award,” said Drew Sullivan, OCCRP’s editor and co-founder.

Vladimir Putin won the award in 2014 while Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev won the award in 2012.

The OCCRP is a non-profit media organization providing an investigative reporting platform for a network of 45 non-profit investigative centers in 34 countries, scores of journalists, and several major regional news organizations across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat flew out to Dubai today.