Disgraced former newspaper boss Adrian Hillman has not yet been extradited to Malta despite the declared efforts by authorities to bring him from the UK to face charges of money laundering and bribery.
On Sunday Hillman broke his silence, posting a tweet about fake news in journalism early in the evening. He did not respond to a request for information about his whereabouts.
The tweet was his first since 11 people were charged in court with crimes ranging from corruption and bribery to forging documents, and money laundering.
They have been charged on the basis of the findings of two inquiries, including one – the last to be completed – which was tasked with investigating a suspicious €650,000 transaction between former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Hillman.
Hillman was not charged with the rest of his associates since he is currently understood to be in the UK where he is reading for PhD in the construction of news at Goldsmiths University. It was expected that he would be brought to Malta and charged shortly after the others, given his key role in the case.
But 10 days after the police’s first arraignments there has been no sign of him.
The police have refused to comment on the case, citing a provision in the police code that prevents them from sharing any information about the possible arrest or arraignment of any individual.
A spokesperson for the police did however confirm that nobody has been extradited from the UK to Malta so far this year. Sources who spoke to Lovin Malta suggested that Hillman was in the process of being brought over by “judicial authorities”.
Over the past week, the court has heard investigators detail how Hillman helped Schembri defraud the Allied Group out of some €6 million through a deal for a printing press purchased through Schembri’s Kasco Engineering.
Given that the compilation of evidence against the remainder of the accused is underway and proceeding at a relatively fast rate, the fact that Hillman has not yet been brought to Malta to face the same charges raises questions.
This is especially true considering the court has so far denied the accused bail over fears they could try to interfere with witnesses, with the prosecutor suggesting that more people may be arraigned relatively soon.
While it isn’t clear whether the prosecution is referring to Hillman, others, or both, the fact that Hillman has not given a statement to the police yet could potentially make him subject to compromise if Schembri, Tonna and their associates are released on bail.
What do you make of this?