Dragi Raskovski’s racist statements aimed at Italians, French, Spaniards and the Maltese people prompted an apology from the Macedonians living in Malta to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Now the satirical site from Malta Bis Serjeta published a statement ostensibly from the Prime Minister on the matter in which the Malta – Gozo rivalry was put in play.

If you think Maltese are crooks just wait till you meet a Gozitan, Muscat tells Macedonians, is the title of the article, which goes on to “quote” Muscat – “I reject in the strongest possible terms the accusation that Maltese people are crooks, the Prime Minister said during a press conference this morning. Or rather – we are crooks, but compared to the inhabitants of Gozo, we’re innocent little lambs”.

The article goes on to invite Raskovski to visit Malta and see the “deviousness” of the inhabitants of the island of Gozo for himself. “Muscat added that if Mr Raskovski wanted to see a real display of deviousness, then he should rent a farmhouse in Gozo, and get a taxi there from the ferry terminal. I guarantee that you’ll get fleeced harder than an American tourist at a Moroccan souk.”

Perhaps less amusingly for Raskovski, his comments about the inferiority of southern and sub-equatorial races were carried in Italy, and the French Ambassador to Macedonia raised them as an issue. Raskovski was recorded apparently directing the course of a 7.7 million EUR contract to procure air traffic control equipment. At one point he is told that the system by the same Italian company was installed in Malta and he replies that “the Maltese are crooks”. While Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and state prosecutors are defensive of Raskovski, he faces an investigation by the more independent minded Anti-Corruption Commission.