The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Watch: Busuttil says Keith Schembri should be arrested for 'receiving kickbacks from Brian Tonna'

Julian Bonnici Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 20:48 Last update: about 6 years ago

Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil said tonight that Nexia BT's Brian Tonna received payments from three Russians for the sale of citizenship, which he then transferred to OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.

Dr Busuttil told the press this evening that over the past weeks he has been appealing for anyone with information to come forward, saying that someone now has, and has passed on information to him.

Press Conference from The Malta Independent on Vimeo.

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Dr Busuttil said that Brian Tonna received €166,800  from three Russians for the sale of Maltese Citizenship. The funds were passed into an account at Pilatus Bank belonging to Mr Tonna's British Virgin Island's Company (Willerby Trade inc.), he said. Soon after, Dr Busuttil alleged, two equal payments of €50,000 amounting to a total of €100,000 were passed on to Keith Schembri's Pilatus bank account.

He said that the "ridiculous excuse given by Mr Schembri and Mr Tonna was that Mr Tonna was repaying Mr Schembri for a loan he gave when he was separating a few years ago. As if Brian Tonna needs someone to loan him €100,000."

Dr Busuttil said he is sure of what he is saying, and has the proof to substantiate every allegation. He is asking Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, who is handling the inquiry into Egrant - a company opened in Panama, which blogger Daphe Caruana Galizia is alleging belongs to the PM's wife - for permission to go before him and under oath pass on the evidence he has.

He said the Prime Minister must carry responsibility and resign immediately. He also insisted that Mr Schembri should be arrested tonight and taken before the courts accused of corruption and money laundering. "The Prime Minister must be interrogated," he said, arguing that this needs to occur to ensure that the Prime Minister was not an accomplice.

"Don't drag this country down with you Joseph Muscat. Your place is not in politics. Leave now."

Fielding questions from the press, Dr Busuttil said that he has no faith in the police to handle the investigation, and it was for that reason that he would be providing Magistrate Aaron Bugeja with the information.

When asked whether or not he intended to make the evidence in his possession public, Dr Busuttil again repeated that he will be providing all relevant information to the magistrate’s inquiry.

The Malta Independent asked Dr Busuttil whether his information was provided by a source or a whistleblower. Should it be the former this would mean that the individual providing the evidence is complicit in the allegations.

He did not divulge that information but assured the public that the proof he had was enough to substantiate the claims. He said that he would not have called such an urgent press conference had it not been the case.

The PN Leader closed by repeating his promise that he would make it his mission to clean the political system “once and for all”

“The people are losing their faith in [the Prime Minister] every day. Let us all take responsibility and stop what is happening. We need to move out of the dead end road we are on."

Photos and video by Baskal Mallia

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