The press reported that the government was heading towards signing such an agreement with the United States of America, perhaps to launch a more favorable U.S. review of Malta in moneyval valuation later this year. Asked why the agreement was reached, after years of discussions so close to the moneyval valuation, Abela said that the mere fact that it has been on the discussion table for years shows that it has nothing to do with moneyval valuation, as there has been no such evaluation years ago. Moreover, the motivation for such an agreement is supposed to lie in the fact that long years of high-level corruption and the sneaky promotion of Malta as a money laundering centre have made this agreement necessary, so that our country is not blacklisted as a financial services. This necessity confirms and attempts to conceal Malta`s lax application, other than the direct promotion of money laundering, which will lead to an erosion of our constitutional right to peace and neutrality. He also denied that a possible sofa deal was linked to obtaining US support to avoid an international blacklist for Malta due to money laundering problems. Asked whether the agreement was due to money laundering, with the result that it was a positive review by the United States, Abela said that no agreement had been signed and that what was discussed within the cabinet should remain confidential, but that any signed agreement would be signed transparently. It is rare for a member of the US cabinet to travel to Malta, indicating that an agreement of some importance was at stake with Esper`s visit, but the joint statement gave few details on what was discussed and summarized this as « bilateral relations and how to further strengthen that relationship ». But let me be clear – I don`t think an agreement on the American sofa should be signed at all costs, especially when it comes to Moneyval or when it comes to defrauding scammers, as many blogs suggest. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Europe said there was no such agreement.