The Malta Independent 21 April 2019, Sunday

Dirty oil - Darren Debono has no connection with the arrest that seized the €55million in assets – lawyer

Tuesday, 30 October 2018, 08:31 Last update: about 7 months ago

"Darren Debono has no connection with the arrest that seized the €55million in assets made last week by the Guardia di Finanza of Varese and Milan," lawyer Luigi Latino told the Malta Indepdnent.

Last Sunday this newsroom published a story saying that an italian residing in London, named as 51-year-old Antonio Desiata, has been arrested and assets in the form of 29 million litres of fuel, 11 properties in Genoa, Trieste and Abbiategrasso and a 14-metre yacht were seized. They are part of the investigation that has uncovered a racket of fuel smuggled out of the mostly lawless Libya, to Malta and then onward to Italy. Italian prosecutors allege that between 2016 and 2017 over 350 million litres of fuel were smuggled from  Malta to Italy via 30 voyages carried out by Maltese tankers owned by the Debonos (Gordon and Darren Debono), which were resold at a cut price on the Italian 'white pump' market later.


Friday's action saw the Guardia di Finanza of Varese carrying out an order for the pre-trial detention of Desiata and the simultaneous seizure of assets worth over €55 million ordered by the Courts of Milan at the request of Milan's Public Prosecutor.

Debono's laywer told this newsroom that, "as the lawyer of Darren Debono, my client is not involved in the investigation being carried out by the Guardia di Finanza of Varese and Milano.  I want to make it very clear that my client is not involved in this investigation at all. We really are not aware what led  the Maltese and Italian journalists  to assume that Debono is somehow involved in this investigation."

Latino said that, "to date no other Italian Judiciary authority has in any way implicated Debono  in any other investigation except the one  which is being carried out by the Procura Della Repubblica di Catania. "

Last October, after two years of phone tapping, the Italian authorities moved in on the Debonos. Darren Debono was apprehended in Lampedusa and Gordon Debono was arrested in Catania.

Below pls find the Italian lawyer reply in full:

"Nell'interesse e quale difensore di fiducia del sig. Debon Darren, facendo seguito all'articolo di stampa pubblicato sul quotidiano The Malta Independent on Sunday, ove si rappresenta un presunto coinvolgimento del mio assistito nella indagine portata avanti dalla Guardia di Finanza di Varese e Milano, vi  rappresento la assoluta estraneità del sig. Debono Darren nella vicenda in questione. Non sappiamo quali siano gli elementi che hanno consentito al giornalista italiano e maltese di formulare simili accuse nei confronti del sig. Debono Darren poiché, ad oggi, nessuna Autorità Giudiziaria italiana ha contestato al mio assistito fatti diversi da quelli portati avanti dalla Procura della Repubblica di Catania.  Avv. Luigi Latino "

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