Malta’s criminal underworld has been laid bare with the Agius brothers, known as tal-Maksar, making front-page news across the island. However, assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had honed in on the pair years prior.
Until now, Adrian and Robert Agius have hung over the Daphne Caruana Galizia like a shroud. Both were among ten men who were arrested by police in connection to the assassination in December 2017.
They were never charged. However, court sittings have revealed that main suspect Yorgen Fenech once told middleman Melvin Theuma to send a “message to Maksar because that’s where the bomb was made”. Fresh reports now claim that they even offered hush money to one of the men who carried out the murder.
A collaborative report from The Times of Malta and Malta Today claims that their criminal web extends further, pointing to a series of violent murders between gang members opening up a vacuum for the Agius brothers to become the major players in the smuggling world with ties to Italian, Libyan, Romanian and Albanian organised crime groups.
Caruana Galizia had written about Adrian Agius in the past, given that he was the business partner of Ryan Schembri – the former owner of More Supermarkets who fled Malta with his family in 2014 to escape loan sharks to whom he had owed millions of euro.
Ryan Schembri is the cousin of Keith Schembri, the chief of staff of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat with his own links to the murder.
Carmel Chircop, who was murdered on 8th October 2015, was one of the investors in More Supermarkets. He had loaned a company which involved Adrian Agius €750,000. The issue was eventually settled out of court after Chircop was murdered.
In one post, Caruana Galizia had also cited how his father Raymond Agius, a smuggler, was shot in the head by hitmen at the Butterfly Bar in Birkirkara in 2008. The murder remains unsolved.
She also linked him to the disappearance of Terrence Gialance, who vanished off the face of the earth in 2012 after telling his family he was going fishing. Gialanze, who at 23 years old owned a pricey BMW SUV, a Bentley and a yacht, used to rent a large villa close to Caruana Galizia’s residence in Bidnija.
Agius then sent a cryptic message to Caruana Galizia to deny that he had fled the island.
“The Phoenix for your information I did not escape, I am on a business trip and I will be back. I now you don t have balls but if you find them some were in your wife’s pocket lets meet up and we sort things out. You are just a low life afraid to show your face to hide under stupid name phoenix,” he said.
Robert Agius has also been in the news before after a court ruled that his rights had been breached because a case against him for alleged involvement in a heroin-trafficking conspiracy had taken too long to conclude.
Agius was charged in 2012 but the case ground to a halt when a witness who had told police of his drug dealing involvement refused to testify while criminal action in her regard was still pending. Eventually, a court declared that the prosecution had not sufficiently proved the accused’s intention to sell or traffic drugs.
What do you think of the claims?