Keith Schembri, the Office of the Prime Minister’s former chief of staff, has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, criminal conspiracy, and money laundering.
In court this evening, Schembri was charged with corruption, money laundering, criminal conspiracy giving false testimony and making false declarations.
He was charged along with three other people. Schembri’s father, Alfio; Kasco Group CEO Malcolm Scerri; and accountant Robert Zammit were also charged with money laundering and criminal conspiracy.
Scerri was also charged with corruption, while Zammit was charged with breaching his duties as an accountant.
KASCO limited and several companies linked were also mentioned; along with Schembri’s offshore structures, including Colson Services.
The sitting is underway, and a bail request will be heard. Their assets have been frozen.
The men have been charged in relation to two magisterial inquiries.
One inquiry is related to allegations that Keith 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 2018.
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.
Schembri has claimed that the €100,000 was the repayment of a personal loan given to Tonna while the former underwent separation proceedings.
Just a few days ago, Schembri broke the news that he will be charged over the conclusions of the inquiry, claiming that the inquiry was a ploy by the “establishment” to harm the Labour Party.
“In a few more days, I will be charged. Not because I committed a crime. For the establishment, the ‘crime’ of which I am guilty is my participation as part of a team led by Joseph Muscat, which led to a series of electoral victories for the party I love so much,” Schembri wrote on Facebook.
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