Robert Abela’s accession to power was all about keeping Labour’s dirty deals under the carpet and giving impunity to its dirty players. So, instead of having the police and the attorney-general pressing to unravel the corruption by previous administrations, the opposition, private citizens, and NGOs are taking up various struggles to tidy up the country themselves. Moviment Graffitti is fighting for Comino, Repubblika is fighting the Pilatus case, Adrian Delia is fighting the government over its deal with Steward Healthcare, etc…
Now, thanks to the private short-selling fund, Viceroy, the same fund which unraveled the Wirecard fraud, has released a damning report on Medical Properties Trust, the public-listed company that is intertwined with Steward Healthcare Malta and other companies in a complicated scam of leveraged property acquisitions. Medical Properties Trust is sitting on more than $10 billion in debt and has accumulated losses of up to $1.9 billion since 2015. It is related to Steward Healthcare Malta by having been the company that financed Steward Healthcare Malta’s buyout of Vitals concession of Malta’s public hospitals. Both companies are intertwined in a complex and opaque company structure that is all connected to Steward International with Steward International CEO Ralph de la Torre, owning Malta’s concession. Vitals is also alleged to have paid a kickback to Joseph Muscat once he left office.
Now, Steward Healthcare Malta has the gall to ask the government to investigate Matthew Vella for investigating this story. Of course, the government is not going to proceed with the request because there is no legal basis to it, but the very fact that Steward has the gall to make such a request in Malta shows the degree of impunity these fraudsters enjoy.
The Maltese public is paying a high price for these corrupt deals and Robert Abela expects, just like with the case of Electrogas, that these fraudulent deals can be sustained so as to keep up appearances. Medical Properties Trust is a listed and public company on the NASDAQ and its financials are public giving the opportunity for traders to short it if it is suspected of being involved in fraud. It’s going to be a great twist of irony if the free market brings down a corrupt deal that the government has persistently tried to hide and sustain.