Former Nexia BT partners Brian Tonna, Manuel Castagna, Karl Cini and manager Katrin Bondin Carter are back in court this afternoon as the compilation of evidence in the state’s case against them continues.
They have been charged, together with seven others including former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, with a host of criminal charges stemming from two magisterial inquiries. All four of the accused were granted bail in the last sitting.
The first inquiry was into the allegation that Tonna had transferred €100,000 in kickbacks from the sale of Maltese passports by Nexia BT to former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.
Both men deny the claims but the court has been told that while the inquiring magistrate found no prima facie evidence of kickbacks, she did not believe their testimony.
The second investigation centred around €650,000 transferred from Schembri to former Allied Group managing partner Adrian Hillman.
Hillman is currently in the UK and is in the process of being extradited to Malta. He is expected to face similar charges.
Inspectors have said that former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and his associates had defrauded the Allied Group out of some €5.5 million in a deal for a new printing press purchased by the company through Schembri’s Kasco Engineering back in 2011.
Both inquiries found Nexia BT to have played a central role in facilitating the alleged illegal activity.
Yesterday, Tonna refused to reply to questions put to him by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee given that there was a chance that he might be charged in connection to his role in the Electrogas deal for which he chaired the selection committee.
The court, which is being presided over by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, has so far heard police detail various aspects of their investigations, which kicked off in recent months after the conclusion of the two inquiries.
All four have pled not guilty.
Stephen Tonna Lowell is representing Tonna and Cini. Michael Sciriha and Matthew Xuereb are representing Manuel Castagna.
Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia are representing Bondin Carter.
Gianella De Marco is appearing for KTP Holdings.
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