Keith Schembri, the former chief of staff of the Office of the Prime Minister charged with corruption and money laundering, is receiving treatment in hospital and will not be present for today’s sitting of the compilation of evidence against him.
News of his hospitalisation came this morning, through his lawyer Edward Gatt. It is unclear what the reasons behind Schembri’s hospitalisation are.
Schembri, along with his father Alfio, the CEO of Kasco Group Malcolm Scerri, and the group’s financial controller Robert Zammit, along with a number of others with various crimes, ranging from the falsification of documents to corruption and money laundering.
He was granted bail a month ago after spending almost a month in prison.
They were charged on the strength of the findings of two magisterial inquiries requested by then Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, into corruption allegations stemming from the Panama Papers leak.
One inquiry investigated the claim that Schembri had received €100,000 in kickbacks from the sale of passports to three Russian nationals from former Nexia BT partner Brian Tonna.
The inquiry did not find any prima facie evidence of kickbacks but said it had not found either of the men’s testimony credible.
The second inquiry – the more damning of the two, and the one completed most recently – revealed how Schembri had allegedly defrauded Allied Group – the company that owns the Times of Malta – out of some €6 million in a printing press deal back in 2011.
So far, police inspectors have given an overview of the offshore structures they believe to have been used to funnel and launder illicitly gained funds.
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