The Malta Independent 8 December 2021, Wednesday

Chilean tech guru Alberto Chang's defence team demands access to private laptop

Gabriel Schembri Tuesday, 27 December 2016, 15:28 Last update: about 6 years ago

The case of Chilean tech guru, Alberto Chang-Rajii has resumed with the prosecution testifying in court and saying that the Chilean authorities never requested the local authorities to carry out a search in the man's residence.

It was also established that the Chilean authorities never requested the Maltese authorities for a warrant of seizure for the man's laptop and to have it inspected for more evidence. It turns out that it was the Maltese police which asked the Chilean counterparts to say if the contents of his personal laptop should be retrieved or not.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a sitting before Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, defence lawyer Stefano Filletti asked since when did the Maltese prosecution become so pro-active to ask for a request by the Chilean authorities to investigate the man's laptop.

Alberto Chang is facing charges related to fraud of some 100 million dollars and facing possible extradition back to his home country Chile.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja also expressed his surprise at noting that the Chileans did not request the extraction of contents from the laptop of the accused, as they might be relevant to the case. "In this day and age, everyone knows how much we depend of technology. This laptop might contain a lot of personal things which are irrelevant to the case, but it might also have some important evidence," he added.

On the other hand, the defence, led by lawyers Stefano Filletti and Stephen Tonna Lowell, also wants to know the content of the laptop. They argued that the laptop contains evidence which they will need to use in their defence.

To resolve this issue, the magistrate ordered the prosecution to ask the Chilean authorities to clarify their position in this regard.

During the testimony by Police Inspector Christopher Galea Scanura, the court heard how Chang's mother is also being interrogated and treated by the authorities as an accomplice in the case.

During the cross-examination by the defence, the inspector explained that the witnesses brought forward were all somehow related to the companies, including accountants and CEO's. Defence asked to clarify if it was the creditors who "wanted the man's head", or the authorities in Chile. The prosecution could neither deny nor confirm.

Dr Filletti also mentioned the fact that according to Chilean media, a number of people who used to work with or for Chang, were charged based on the same facts and therefore asked how come there is no charge of complicity and to clarify who committed the offence and who was the accomplice. Alberto Chang's mother, Veronica, is being investigated as a 'co-defendant'. She is currently freed on bail facing charges of complicity.

The prosecution, on the other hand, did confirm that other people were being investigated but could not confirm if they were being interrogated as accomplices. It was also explained that the legal basis for the extradition was the Palermo Convention which was signed by both Malta and Chile.

Chang is being charged with acquiring "earnings from fraudulent activities". Allegedly, some of these funds were used to invest in property in the Biritsh Virgin Islands.

When asked to confirm the punishment if the man is found guilty of the charges brought against him, the prosecution said Chang could be facing jail term of up to 20 years.

The defence lawyer made reference to the fact that a Judge sitting on the Chilean Supreme Court, Carlos Gajardo Galdames, has a conflict of interest in the case, as his partner's family members were clients of one of Chang's companies. He asked the prosecution to confirm or deny this but the inspector said he would ask for an official reply. Dr Filletti continued by saying that this Judge had refused to step down of this council and had publicly declared that Chang should be brought to Chile.

At this point the Magistrate clarified that the defence is alleging that Judge Gajardo Galdames, facilitated the request for Chang's extradition.

Following a series of questions put forward by the defence lawyers, the Magistrate ordered the prosecution to liaise with the Chilean counterparts and provide the needed replies by not later than the next sitting, on 4 January. 


 

  • don't miss