The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Magistrate says enough evidence to launch criminal investigation into Schembri, Tonna – Busuttil

Julian Bonnici Thursday, 4 May 2017, 18:04 Last update: about 8 years ago

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja has ruled that there is enough evidence to warrant a criminal investigation into the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Keith Schembri (above), and the PM's consultant, Nexia BT Owner Brian Tonna (below). This was announced by the Leader of the Oppositon Simon Busuttil.

The evidence given to the magisterial inquiry was provided after Dr Busuttil claimed that he held documents which showed that that Mr 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.

Dr Busuttil alleged that two equal payments of €50,000 amounting to a total of €100,000 were passed on to Mr Schembri's Pilatus bank account.

Mr Schembri and Mr Tonna had said that latter was repaying Mr Schembri for a loan he gave when he was separating a few years ago; a claim the Opposition leader said was 'ridiculous'.

"As if Brian Tonna needs someone to loan him €100,000."

The PN Leader said that the Magistrate has said that there is enough evidence to investigate the pair for money laundering.

Dr Busuttil once again repeated that the Prime Minister is guilty by association since his chief of staff, 'his right hand man', is involved with such serious claims.

The Prime Minister had previously said that he believed Mr Schembri's version.

Turning to the general election on 3 June, Dr Busuttil said that this meant that it was no longer a normal election, but an extraordinary one, whereby it meant that the people had to choose between a man who is drowning under the weight of his scandals, and Malta. 

Government reaction

The Office of the Prime Minister released a statement which reads as follows:

"The Leader of the Opposition has requested that the courts investigate before the magisterial inquiry was decided, which has nothing to do with allegations made on the Prime Minister and his family in relation to Egrant."

"The Magistrate that is hearing the inquiry will not continue to listen to allegations of Dr Simon Busuttil with regards to Keith Schembri, and this is why one needs to see if this report should be heard from another Magistrate."



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