The Malta Independent 22 September 2020, Tuesday

Updated (2): Keith Schembri paid Times ex-managing director Adrian Hillman €650,000 - Busuttil

Joanna Demarco Wednesday, 17 May 2017, 18:30 Last update: about 4 years ago

"I have information including all documents showing that Keith Schembri paid 650,000 euro to former Times director Adrian Hillman," Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil said today.

Addressing the media, Dr Busuttil said that there are no explanations for this payment. They happened in secret companies and structures which show that it is another case of secrecy and money laundering.

Dr Busuttil said that this is a 'textbook case' of money laundering. This is a serious crime with a penalty of a maximum jail sentence of 18 years.

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PC Simon Busuttil MKE12147.MOV from The Malta Independent on Vimeo.

Dr Busuttil said that transfers were made using bank accounts in Germany and Gibraltar and Maltese banks. He explained that the money went either straight directly to Mr Hillman or through the bank account of Mr Hillman in the British Virgin Islands called Lester Holdings plc. "I have detailed information how a structure was created through a variety of secret companies and financial intermediaries, so that hundreds of thousands of euro were transferred without any form of lawful verification to diminish money laundering activities," he said. 

He then elaborated on the transfers.

According to the Nationalist Party leader, one payment was of €169,070 with Credi Swiss, which were recycled into bonds.

Another payment by Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Keith Schembri was used through a "secret" company in Gibraltar, Malmos Ltd, with the amount of $135 870, Dr Busuttil said, adding that on the same day that the transfer occurred, the money was put into six bonds with international companies.  In another payment, he paid Lester Holdings €125,000 recycled through the sale of international bonds, he added.

He said that in another transfer, €100,000 to Lester Holdings plc. was also invested in bonds, "so that no one will know where they came from."

"There is no reasonable explanation as to why someone like Hillman had to receive all these payments from Keith Schembri," he continued.  He went on to explain that invoices created "to justify these payments" are "suspicious and done quickly".

When asked by The Malta Independent whether he could elaborate on the content of the invoices, Dr Busuttil said he will give all the details to the magisterial inquiry and not to the media; a sentiment which he repeated previously when he stated that he had other evidence regarding Keith Schembri and kickbacks from Nexia BT owner Brian Tonna.

"I want to give you the peace of mind that there is proof for everything I said," he said, adding that the situation is "too big to be invented".  

He said that the payments happened between 2011 and 2015. "Before the election, when Keith Schembri was hand-in-hand with Joseph Muscat prearing for the 2013 election and after the election, when he was running the office of Joseph Muscat in Castille," he said. 

He then stated that the police are "double-faced with their loyalty towards the constitution", elaborating that Police Commissioner "knows everything, and did nothing." "How can it be that the police are helping the magistrate inquiry, when they themselves have been helping the ministers to hide the money?" he asked. 

He said that the Pilatus Bank bank account was closed shortly after the Panama Papers scandal broke. 

Dr Busuttil said he will be taking this "proof" to the magisterial inquiry. But when asked which magisterial inquiry he was referring to as there are two related inquiries ongoing at the moment, Dr Busuttil said he was seeking legal advice on that.

 

All business has been documented, declared and tax paid – Schembri says

In a statement this evening Mr Schembri rejected Dr Busuttil’s accusatioins, explaining, “Simon Busuttil is at it again. He has rehashed an old story which has been out in the media since last year. I have already provided all my answers on the matter concerning private business I carried out prior to my appointment to public office, which business has all be documented, declared and tax paid thereon here in Malta. I will not comment further.

“As with the previous allegations made by Simon Busuttil, I am glad that the matter will be placed before a Magistrate so that the truth of Busuttil’s witch hunt is uncovered.

“It is evident that Simon Busuttil is in complete panic in view of the total collapse of his politics of division. Pity that Simon Busuttil has to project his inadequacy and incapability in this manner, however I am certain the Maltese will see right through this now very evident, yet dangerous partisan strategy.”

 

Hillman to file police complaint against Busuttil for ‘making false and calumnious allegations in my regard

Mr Hillman on his part this evening categorically denied that he have ever “received any monies from Keith Schembri or any of his companies for any work related to my role at Allied Newspaper Ltd and Progress Press Ltd or for that matter any government work. The matter has been the subject of media speculation for over a year and which has always been refuted. This matter was also the subject of an Internal Inquiry appointed by the Allied Newspaper Board, which Inquiry has been settled since nothing illegal or of a criminal nature as alleged by Simon Busuttil was uncovered.” 

He added, “Any work I may have assumed during my time with the Times where never in conflict with my role as Director. Most of this work, it should be noted, was carried before 2013. All work that I have carried out, outside my role of Director has been duly invoiced and taxes paid thereon. 

 

“I will obviously be speaking to my lawyers and take all legal advice with a view of protecting my reputation from such malicious and unfounded allegations, including that of filing a complaint with the Police against Dr Busuttil for making false and calumnious allegations in my regard.”

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