The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Libyan businessman denies links with human traffickers

Saturday, 14 November 2015, 10:19 Last update: about 7 years ago

Libyan national Fahmi Slim Mousa Ben Khalifa has written to The Malta Independent insisting that an article published in the Asia Times, which was reported by this newspaper, contains unfounded allegations. Mr Fahmi insists he has no links whatsoever with the smuggling of humans, arms or diesel and that fact that the Libyan government recently gave his company the go-ahead to stay in business was proof of this.

The Asia Times had described Mr Fahmi Slim, a Zuwara native, as Libya’s smuggling kingpin. It alleged that he also had links with human traffickers. The newspaper said Mr Fahmi had purchased a ship in a shady deal and that the vessel had passed through Malta. The paper also claimed that Mr Fahmi had been set free from prison when Colonel Gaddafi fell and that he was involved in fuel-smuggling activities in Libya and was known to French, Maltese and Italian authorities as a person of interest.

The newspaper report said Fahmi Slim was partner in Maltese-registered company ADJ Trading. The Malta Independent had found that the other two partners were Egyptian Ahmed Irahim Hassan Ahmed Arafa and former national football team player Darren Debono, 41, from San Gwann.

Mr Debono was twice given suspended jail sentences by the courts; once for stealing a refrigerated trailer for storing fish and the second time for under-declaring fish landings at the Customs Department on some six occasions.

The name of the Egyptian shareholder appears in another court case where they claimed he had no knowledge that a fishing vessel he and Mr Debono had chartered had being used to smuggle cigarettes into Malta.

In his right of reply, signed by lawyer Joe Zammit Maempel, Mr Fahmi Slim said the above mentioned court case had ended in the complete acquittal of Mr Ahmed.

This is the full reply sent by Mr Fahmi: “Reference is made to an article appearing in The Malta Independent on the 26th October 2015 entitled “Libya’s ‘smuggler king’ has a Maltese company and a ship that visits Malta.”

Mr Fahmi Slim MOusa Ben Khalifa declares that:

1-      He has never had any links with human traffickers

2-      He owns shares in a company by the name of Tioboda Oil Services Ltd which was incorporated in Libya on the 23.09.2012; this company received approval by the Libyan Interim Government to continue operating on the 25.08.2014. This approval to continue to operate according to its Memorandum and Articles is evidence that the company has never been involved in diesel smuggling.

3-      The judicial case you mention about cigarette smuggling against Mr Ahmed (Darren Debono was only a witness in this case) was decided by a complete acquittal of Mr Ahmed.

4-      Mr Fahmi was never involved in any illegal traffic of fuel, arms, drugs or humans. He has never been charged in any country in the world with any charge concerning the above.

5-      Mr Fahmi cannot understand what the agenda of Asia Star is in making completely unfounded allegations in his regard except to fuel the already existing internal problems of Libya in the post-Gaddafi era where groups of militia are mushrooming. Mr Fahmi has no connection with any militia group, and in particular with Libya Dawn, who assumed responsibility for the assassination of the United States Ambassador and members of his staff.

6-      Ma Fahmi reserves all his legal rights to protect his reputation and will institute the necessary legal proceedings against anybody who tarnishes his reputation with false and malicious allegations. 

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