The Russian spy story continued to reverberate on the campaign trail, as Prime Minister Muscat had to deal with the backlash of ridicule that erupted after his announcement that he had received information from two allied secret services that Russia was behind the Egrant saga. In the morning, the Prime Minister once again reiterated what he had said a day earlier, with much less drama, but he would not be drawn into saying whether he believed the story was true or otherwise. And nobody was expecting him to say yes or no. A “yes” would have brought even more disdain, and open up diplomatic issues, and a “no” would have been an admission that the story was nothing more than an attempt to win some sympathy.
In the afternoon, we had the confirmation from the Russian embassy that denied that the information received by the Prime Minister was correct. Although nobody expected otherwise, this was yet another blow to Muscat’s credibility.
We now have a third inquiry, with Magistrate Josette Demicoli taking responsibility for the allegations made by Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil that OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri paid former Times director Adrian Hillman €650,000. Both deny the claims, but a third magisterial inquiry continues to add pressure on the Labour Party just a few days before the election.