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Former Progress Press Director Received Over €240,000 From Keith Schembri’s Offshore Companies

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Former Progress Press director Vince Buhagiar received six-figure sums from offshore accounts belonging to former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, a court heard today. 

The compilation of evidence against Buhagiar continued today before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, with the court hearing how Buhagiar could not explain to police the reason he had received the payments from Schembri’s Gibraltar company. 

Investigators told the court that Buhagiar had received over €240,000 in a number of installments. 

The former director was charged with money laundering following the completion of a magisterial inquiry into alleged corruption in Progress Press’s purchase of print press equipment through Kasco Engineering, one of Schembri’s companies. He was charged along with 11 other individuals, including Schembri. 

In previous sittings, the court heard how Schembris’ company won a bid following a tender issued by Progress Press having agreed with Buhagiar and Adrian Hillman that he would overcharge the company by €6.5 million. Schembri is believed to have subsequently laundered €5 million in kickbacks to himself, Buhagiar and Hillman. 

In court today, police inspectors said that when he was interrogated, Buhagiar was unable to explain why he had received the payments from Schembri, which he said were fees associated with consultancies. 

Various officials from the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Tax Commissioner’s Office, the Malta Business Registry and the Capital Transfers Department all presented documents related to Buhagiar’s tax returns and property transfers. 

Veronique Dalli is appearing for Buhagiar while Elaine Mercieca Rizzo is appearing for the Attorney General’s office. 

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