The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Keith Schembri ordered to testify in 17 Black case

Friday, 12 July 2019, 13:45 Last update: about 9 days ago

 

Magistrate Victor Asciak has ordered OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri to testify about the Panama company 17 Black, saying the court would not tolerate further delays.

This emerged during a libel case filed by Schembri against PN MP Simon Busuttil. Schembri has been reluctant to be cross-examined on the subject of Dubai-registered 17 Black, arguing that the company information was not in the public domain at the time that the alleged defamatory speech by Busuttil, about corruption and the Panama Papers, had been delivered in March 2016.

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However, in a decree handed down by magistrate Victor Axiak the court denied the Schembri’s request to be exempted from testifying.

Schembri was expected to testify in libel proceedings against Simon Busuttil, after the former Nationalist leader had accused him of receiving kickbacks.

In January lawyers for both parties argued over whether Schembri should also testify over secret company 17 Black.

The company had been named in leaked e-mails as one of two companies that would pay $2 million to Schembri's and Konrad Mizzi's Panama companies.

In its decision, the court said it was irrelevant whether Simon Busuttil knew about the company when he made his speech and added that it would not accept further delays by Schembri to take the witness stand.

The court also said it would not be upholding any requests for adjournments, other than for health reasons.

 

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