The Malta Independent 23 September 2019, Monday

Eastern European men charged with burglary, money laundering

Monday, 3 June 2019, 15:28 Last update: about 5 months ago

Two men from Eastern Europe have been arraigned on charges of burglary, money laundering and organised crime after they were arrested as part of an investigation into criminal organisations.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke heard Inspector Saviour Baldacchino describe the operation through which the men were arrested.

Georgian Kakhaber Lomtadze, 41, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, pleaded not guilty to all charges. His alleged accomplice, 28 year-old Lithuanian Valdas Martinaitis, wearing plastic bags on his feet after his clothes were taken into evidence, also pleaded not guilty.

In addition to participation in a criminal organisation and money laundering, the two men were charged with burglary and are believed to have stolen some €20,000 in one theft.

They were arrested in Fgura on June 1 after leading police on a rooftop to rooftop chase. One of the accused jumped from the rooftop in a bid to evade his pursuers but only ended up injuring himself and was apprehended. His accomplice was taken into custody shortly afterwards.

Police say investigations are ongoing with “tens of related thefts” understood to still be under investigation.

Besides the Fgura attempted theft, Martinaitis alone is also charged with seven other thefts.

Martinaitis said he lived in Ukraine and was unemployed. Lomtadze, who is also unemployed, said he used to live in a hotel in Malta.

Bail was not requested.

Lawyer Martha Mifsud was legal aid lawyer to the accused men.

Inspectors Saviour Baldacchino, Shawn Pawney and Paul Camilleri are prosecuting.

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