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 with a host of criminal charges stemming from two magisterial inquiries. The first 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 Tonna and Schembri claimed that the transferred funds were the repayment of a loan Schembri had given Tonna when the latter was going through separation proceedings.
The second investigation centred around €650,000 transferred from Schembri to former Allied Group managing partner Adrian Hillman.
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 illegal activity.
The court, which is being presided over by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, has so far heard police investigators explain a timeline of events, including all the occasions in which the suspects were interrogated. They have also detailed some of the inquiries’ findings and the findings of police investigations into transactions affected by the four, and a number of associated companies.
The court has so far denied the accused bail in order to protect ongoing investigations from the possibility of the accused tampering with evidence or speaking to others who might be charged at a later stage.
Tonna and Cini specifically have been charged in relation to corruption accusations and giving false statements to the courts. Meanwhile, Tonna, Cini, and Castagna have also been charged with making false declarations to officials and forgery.
All four have pleaded 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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