How the mighty have fallen

Malta has been shocked to the core with a number of revelations involving people who may have been perceived as above the reachable arms of the law. Following a saga which took place over years, a number of key individuals have been apprehended. These include the former Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and Karl Cini. 

As these men have been put behind bars, the story is unfolding. The theme of the story revolves around how bribes have been concealed by commissions. It is reported that Keith Schembri processed millions of Euro to have printing machinery sold to Progress Press at inflated prices. The total amount of these transactions is suspected to be in the region of five and a half million United States Dollars. Convoluted transactions were used to conceal what was really at hand.

The money was processed through offshore accounts belonging to different individuals. The sales of this specific machinery took place prior to when Keith Schembri was in public office.

At the time, both the Managing Director of Allied Group and Chairman of Progress Press pushed for the purchase of machinery from Keith Schembri’s company, Kasco.  It was revealed that Progress Press had bought machinery worth over six and a half million United States Dollars more than it should.

Source: Keith Schembri resigns as Prime Minister’s chief of staff

The allegations in relation to this case point to the conclusion that this was bribery. Payments were processed through companies controlled by Schembri to accounts held at financial advisors MFSP, who had recently rebranded to Zenith Capital. The owner of Zenith, Matthew Pace, came under heavy fire due to the fact that he prepared the documentation, whilst Brian Tonna and Karl Cini have been dubbed as “professional money launderers” following their input.

Source: Malta begins process to extradite Adrian Hillman from the UK 

Through these dealings, it is believed that former Times of Malta Managing Director Adrian Hillman received more than one million dollars in total. A number of other suspicious transactions have been recorded with over twenty million Euro worth of paper being sold to Progress Press between 2010 and 2016. Back in 2001, Adrian Hillman worked as a consultant for Keith Schembri for a film that was shot in Malta.

Many argue that in Malta, a culture of impunity has been fostered, especially across the past years. It is not so common to hear of high-ranking officials being put behind bars due to corruption. With a renowned emphasis and focus towards enforcement of the law, it seems that Malta is pulling its socks. What do you think about enforcement and rule of law in Malta? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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