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MALTATODAY 5 December 2018 Midweek

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MATTHEW VELLA THE National Audit Office was unable to obtain full and compre- hensive information in an audit of Malta's €28 million spend to host the Presidency of the Council of the European Union between January and June 2017. In its audit for 2017, the NAO said it was unable to obtain ac- cess to all departmental files on spending on various aspects of the Presidency, prolonging the audit unnecessarily, and finding no audit trail for Central Bank payments to service providers. Out of the total payments, €11.7 million were made di- rectly by the Central Bank, a method of payment primar- ily used for amounts exceeding €250,000, as well as payments to hotels and foreign entities. 4 reasons why the PD has still not reaped the harvest WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION €1.00 Newspaper post WEDNESDAY • 5 DECEMBER 2018 • ISSUE 615 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY ANALYSIS PAGES 6 & 7 PAGE 3 Insufficient information on EU presidency spending, says NAO EDITORIAL • PAGE 9 Malta to study French- German proposal to tax digital advertising sales MATTHEW VELLA MALTA will "objec- tively" evaluate a Fran- co-German proposal to tax digital advertising, after the two countries ditched EU plans to im- pose a wide-ranging digital tax on tech com- panies. Instead they will pro- pose a narrow levy on ad- vertising sales that would be likely to exclude giants like Amazon and Apple. Malta has not been a supporter of harmonised taxation measures on multination- als. Under the new plan, Facebook and Google would be targeted through their sales of advertising but other retailers like Amazon, AirBnB and Spotify are likely to be excluded PAGE 3 Finance Minister Edward Scicluna with IMF Director of the European Department Poul Thomsen MATTHEW AGIUS A decision in the Panama Papers inquiry appeal case is finally in sight, after a judge ordered the parties to make their final submissions in writing within four days. The appeals case was entrusted to Judge Giovanni Grixti after the retirement of judge Antonio Mizzi. The case began last year after former leader of the Opposition, Simon Busuttil, had filed a request to Magistrate Ian Far- rugia to open a magisterial inquiry into money-laundering allegations involving the highest echelons of government as a result of the Panama Papers revelations. Magistrate Farrugia had upheld the request but the men, that include Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, had filed appeals. The appeals had been assigned to Judge Antonio Mizzi, leading Busuttil to request the recusal of the judge due to family ties with the governing Labour party. The re- quest was turned down, but Judge Mizzi reached retirement age last month and the cases were then assigned to Judge Grixti. Grixti was given the task of hearing the seven individual appeals, filed by Mus- cat, Schembri, Mizzi, businessmen Brian Tonna, Karl Cini, Malcolm Scerri and Adrian Hillman against Magistrate Ian Farrugia's decision to launch an inquiry into money-laundering allegations. In a decree issued yesterday, Grixti said he would be delivering his decision on the request from chambers, giving the parties four days to make written sub- missions. End in sight for Panama Papers inquiry appeals

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