DIZZ owner Diane Izzo threatens libel suit over MP's money laundering accusations

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi implies fashion retail group registers low profits because of money laundering

Diane Izzo and Jason Azzopardi
Diane Izzo and Jason Azzopardi

Diane Izzo, CEO of DIZZ Group, the fashion retailer, will file a libel lawsuit against Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi for claims he has made on Facebook linking the group’s outlets to money laundering.

“Jason Azzopardi will have to answer for his lies in court. I shall be filing a libel case to safeguard the sterling reputation of my company, our employees, and their families,” she wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

Azzopardi had claimed on his Facebook page that if the Maltese Economic Crimes Unit were a functioning department, it would investigate “the bosom friends of the Muscat couple and the so called DIZZ Group.”

Azzopardi quoted a 2014 to 2017 financial report of the company, saying that there were discrepancies in the figures listed. “Turnover of fashionwear has increased from €5.1 million in 2014, to €15 million in 2017, an increase of 192%. This increase has been achieved with the increase in the number of retail outlets, which numbered 33 in 2017,” he wrote.

Azzopardi said, after calculations, that the financial report meant that the average turnover per outlet in 2017 was €492,750, resulting in an average profit before tax of €14,932 per outlet.

“Would you open 33 outlets for a mere €14,932 profit pre tax (circa €10,000 net profits) per outlet? Furthermore: the DIZZ Group bonds are amongst the worst on the market,” he wrote.

He concluded that this could only mean that DIZZ group probably had not met debt obligations and that “money laundering is facilitated a lot by having a big number of outlets.”

Izzo’s response on Facebook came two hours later as she claimed a libel lawsuit would be filed.

“I am very sorry to break it to Dr Azzopardi that the only secret behind our 20 years of success is hard work. I am holding Jazon Azzopardi personally responsible for any damages that his lies have procured,” she wrote.

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