As Malta reels from the arrest of the former Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri over money-laundering allegations, the international press is standing up and taking note.
Media houses from around the globe have been keeping up to date with Maltese affairs ever since the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Here’s how to world is reporting the latest development:
It is alleged that Schembri benefited from illicit profits of up to €100,000 from the infamous citizenship-buying scheme launched under previous Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
“Malta started selling passports to wealthy foreigners in 2014, with strong take-up mostly from rich Russians, Chinese and others in the Arab Gulf,” Reuters wrote.
“Schembri was arrested just after midnight, hours after a court issued an order for all his assets and those of his family and companies to be frozen.”
“Schembri, who has always denied wrongdoing, resigned in November,” the Guardian’s piece read, “shortly before Muscat announced he was too was stepping down. The resignations followed the arrest and arraignment of Yorgen Fenech, suspected by police of being the mastermind in the 2017 murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
All international press noted the allegations were first filed three years prior by former Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil.
A leaked report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit found that Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna transferred two €50,000 payments to Schembri through the now-closed Pilatus Bank.
Schembri and Tonna have insisted this was a repayment of a loan that Schembri had given Tonna during his separation, but the FIAU said it could find no evidence such a loan was ever paid to begin with.
Both men were arrested this morning, while their assets, together with those belonging to their families and over 100 connected companies, have been frozen by court order.
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