The Times of Malta settled a libel lawsuit filed against it by Maltese politician John Dalli, the newspaper reported.
The newspaper’s story wrongly suggested Dalli had a “secret HSBC Swiss bank account,” the Times of Malta admitted.
Dalli, the former European Commissioner and Nationalist minister, sued over the Times‘ Feb. 24 article “No Suspension for Gatt and Dalli over Swiss accounts.” The article’s link now goes to an error page. iMediaEthics viewed the original article via Google cache. It claimed:
“Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says he will not be looking to suspend former ministers Austin Gatt and John Dalli from the party over their overseas bank accounts since their cases did not surface under his watch.
“Both Dr Gatt, who held a Swiss bank account, as well as Dr Dalli, who has faced claims – which he has strenuously denied – of moving millions of euros to the Bahamas had nothing to do with the party, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil told Times of Malta yesterday.”
Dalli announced his criminal and civil lawsuit the day the story was published, calling it a “malicious report,” the Malta Independent reported.
“Their malicious reporting that has been going on for years,” Dalli said in a statement according to the Independent.
The Times of Malta has now unpublished the article, apologized to Dalli and posted a correction the day after the story was published. The Times of Malta didn’t say if it paid a financial settlement. The Times declined to comment to iMediaEthics.
The Feb. 25 correction is headlined: “Clarification: John Dalli not part of Swiss Leaks scandal.” The clarification is behind a paywall but reads in part:
“Former European Commissioner John Dalli is not in any way connected with the Swiss Leaks scandal contrary to the impression that may have been given by a heading that appeared in Times of Malta yesterday.
“The heading, ‘No suspension for Gatt and Dalli over Swiss accounts’, may have incorrectly implied that Mr Dalli held a secret HSBC Swiss bank account when in fact this was not the case.”