Keith Schembri, the former OPM chief of staff, has been granted bail over charges related to corruption, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy.
Schembri was granted bail against a deposit of €60,000 and a personal guarantee of €90,000. He has been ordered to sign the bail book in Qawra.
Schembri, his father Alfio, Kasco CEO Malcolm Scerri and accountant Robert Zammit were first arrested on Saturday 20th March over two magisterial inquiries and have been at Corradino ever since. Alfio was granted bail last week.
Scerri was also granted bail against a deposit of €60,000 and a personal guarantee of €90,000. He was also prohibited from going near the coast and airports and airfields. Zammit was granted bail against a deposit of €40,000 and a personal guarantee of €150,000
One inquiry is related to allegations that Schembri channelled over €650,000 to then-Allied Newspapers Managing Director Adrian Hillman in suspicious payments between 2011 and 2015 in a deal which saw his company, Kasco, supply a printing press to Times of Malta in 2008.
An inspector explained how Times of Malta issued a tender for a new printing machine. Schembri’s company won the bid, having agreed with two directors of the company that he would overcharge more than €6.5 million so he can launder €5 million in kickbacks to himself and three others, Hillman, Scerri and Vince Buhagiar, with the aid of Nexia BT and MFSP (now Zenith).
Then Schembri went on to sell Allied Newspapers some €21 million in raw materials. And the company ended up having to wind most of its printing operations down and sell its property in Valletta.
The other is related to a suspected passport kickbacks scheme between Schembri and Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna. According to a leaked report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), Tonna transferred two €50,000 payments through Pilatus Bank to Schembri.
A court has heard how, in total, the police analysed a total of 44 transactions out of a BTI account, owned by Brian Tonna, between 2015 and 2016, totalling around €600,000. They included payments to Schembri’s company Kasco Ltd. and other related firms.
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