The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

John Dalli daughters' fraud case hampered by logistical nightmares

Wednesday, 19 December 2018, 16:18 Last update: about 9 months ago

The fraud and money-laundering case involving the daughters of former EU Commissioner John Dalli, is being dogged by logistical problems.

Not much headway has been made in the case despite it being almost a year since criminal charges were filed against Louise Dalli and Claire Gauci Borda, alongside foreign nationals Eloise Marie Corbin Klein, Charles Ray Jackson, Elizabeth Jean Jackson and Robert Mitchell McIvor.

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The case concerns two companies that are alleged to have swindled a group of elderly American investors out of their life-savings.  The two companies – Tyre Ltd and Corporate Group – are registered at John Dalli’s Portomaso address and the directors and shareholders of the latter company are Dalli’s two daughters, Claire Gauci Borda and Louisa Dalli, while Louisa Dalli was director and accountant for the former.

The six accused persons were charged with money laundering, misappropriation, fraud, making a false declaration to a public authority and the falsification and use of documents.

Ms Gauci Borda is separately accused of breaching the Money Laundering And Financing Of Terrorism Act and with failing to carry out her professional duties as an accountant and auditor.
The case has been plagued with problems. In May, the court was told that two of the co-accused, namely Elizabeth Jean Jackson and Eloise Marie Corbin Klein, were allegedly unable to appear in court due to chronic health issues. Inspector Yvonne Farrugia had requested the separation of proceedings with respect to Jackson, who had suffered a stroke.

The prosecution had said that it had solved transport issues for housebound patient Corbin Klein, but when the case resumed this week, Inspector Farrugia was forced to admit that the logistics of getting Corbin Klein out of her home were proving problematic.

Exhibiting correspondence from Mater Dei Hospital, the Inspector explained that a risk assessment by hospital staff had flagged a danger that both the patient and the persons handling her could be injured if she is moved.

Even the Civil Protection Department, whose assistance had also been sought had expressed concern for the patient’s safety, pointing out that the lifter used in such cases was insufficient as it could only carry a maximum weight of 150 kilograms.

The prosecution suggested that one hearing be held at Corbin Klein’s home before the separation of the proceedings as one way of overcoming the logistical issues involved in her transportation.

In addition to this, Inspector Farrugia informed the court that the police were informed that McIvor had passed away on October 24. His death is the subject of a magisterial inquiry.

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi, assisting the other co-accused, had filed a court application claiming that Charles Ray Jackson was now showing signs of psychiatric trouble.

But Magistrate Bugeja ruled a report by a court-appointed psychiatrist who had examined the man as inconclusive.

The only one of the six co-accused to attend the latest hearing were the Dalli sisters, who are being assisted in the proceedings by lawyers Stefano Filletti and Stephen Tonna Lowell.

“We have an interest in commencing and concluding these proceedings,” Tonna Lowell said.

The Magistrate replied that it was the “interest of all,” insisting that something must be done.
Filletti suggested that the police could withdraw the joint charges and issue fresh charges separately, but Inspector Farrugia explained that her instructions had been to request the setting of a hearing at Corbin Klein’s home and, after that, to request the separation of the proceedings.

Magistrate Bugeja adjourned the case to February, observing that the parties were not objecting to the out-of-Court sitting owing to the unique characteristics of this case.

 

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