Police have seized a number of company documents from Times of Malta’s offices as part of its investigation into alleged money laundering involving former Allied Newspapers managing director Adrian Hillman and former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.
Times of Malta confirmed in a recent report that police have approached Progress Press to provide certain company documents dating back to Hillman’s tenure.
Contacted by Lovin Malta, Allied Newspapers’ current managing director Michel Rizzo denied the offices of the country’s largest newspaper were “raided”.
“The police simply came over to the premises of Progress Press to collect company documents in connection with ongoing investigations, as reported on timesofmalta.com yesterday,” he said. “The company cooperated voluntarily in full with the police.”
This case goes back all the way to 2016, when now-assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia flagged payments made by companies owned by Schembri to companies owned by Hillman.
Hillman resigned as Allied managing director shortly after, and the publishers launched an internal inquiry, spearheaded by former judge Giovanni Bonello.
This inquiry has never been published, and Bonello was soon after appointed chairman of the Strickland Foundation, which is the majority shareholder of Allied Newspapers.
Shortly before the 2017 general election, then Opposition leader Simon Busuttil called for a magisterial inquiry after getting wind of a leaked Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit report, which found that Schembri had channeled over €650,000 to Hillman in suspicious payments between 2011 and 2015.
The magisterial inquiry dragged on for several years but was recently concluded. Its findings haven’t been published, but Times reported it recommends criminal action against both Hillman and Schembri for money laundering.