Malta’s Attorney General must provide the public with a sufficient explanation as to why she granted Darren ‘It Topo’ Debono a plea deal for his role in the attempted heist on HSBC which saw roughly 65 shots fired at police officers, the PN and activist group Repubblika have said.
Debono was handed a 10-year prison sentence earlier today for his involvement in the crime. He will now turn state witness in the case, however, there has been very little indication on what sort of evidence the criminal will provide.
The issue has raised serious concerns particularly given the links of key political figures, like sitting minister Carmelo Abela and former minister Chris Cardona, to the case.
Vince Muscat, who is also on trial over the heist, had his plea deal in the Daphne Caruana Galizia and Carmel Chircop murders published in full.
Both the PN and Repubblika said that Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg, who allegedly took the decision without consulting her deputies, is obliged to give a sufficient explanation on her decision.
PN MP Jason Azzopardi went one step further, asking on social media whether there had “been a pact with the devil?”.
Meanwhile, investigators close to the investigation have reportedly raised their eyebrows at the decision, given that they felt there was an open and shut case against Debono.
The trial against Muscat, the convicted hitman in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination, over the HSBC heist has been suspended following the guilty plea.
The long-awaited trial has already proven controversial.
On 30th June 2010, a group of robbers attempted a heist on the HSBC headquarters in Qormi while police were busy working on a state visit of Italy’s President.
Police were able to arrive on the scene quickly after receiving an anonymous tip-off. Some 65 shots were fired at police.
The robbers managed to get away. However, Muscat and Debono were later charged in connection to the robbery.
A police constable who was involved in a shootout with fleeing robbers outside the HSBC headquarters in 2010 has asked the courts to allow him not to testify because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he still suffers as a result.
He had described to the court how he saw three men dressed in suits and wearing wigs leaving the building after suspicious activity was reported.
He ended up in a shootout with the three robbers until reinforcements arrived.
Despite the crime having taken place almost 12 years ago, Muscat’s trial is only due to start now with serious questions raised about the manner in which the case was handled.
Muscat has admitted to his role in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia as well as that of Carmel Chircop in February and has since requested two presidential pardons in relation to the HSBC case.
Muscat has promised to reveal the identity of a sitting and former minister who he says were involved in the botched heist.
His co-accused in the Caruana Galizia assassination, Alfred and George Degiorgio have both filed a similar request, even naming the two as former Economy Minister Chris Cardona and OPM Minister Carmelo Abela in a letter they sent to the European Commission.
It was recently revealed that lawyers Franco Debono and Roberto Montalto had taken Muscat on as a client and will be defending him in the trial which is set to start this week.
Do you agree?