The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

Fuel trader Gordon Debono and his wife charged with money laundering

Wednesday, 25 November 2020, 21:21 Last update: about 3 months ago

Fuel trader Gordon Debono and his wife Yvette-Marie Debono have been charged with laundering millions of euros.

The couple, 46 and 45, from Marsascala, were arraigned on Wednesday evening.

They appeared in their capacity as directors of 11 companies. The companies - Hi-Low Properties Ltd, Petroplus Ltd, KB Investments Ltd, KB Lines Ltd, Seabrass Ltd, Petrobunkers Ltd, Oil and Ship Ltd, Gorge Ltd, S-Cape Yacht Charter Ltd, S-Cape Ltd and Yves Ltd - were also added as defendants in the case.

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Debono alone was also accused of making false declaration to auditors, destroying or falsifying official documents and fraudulently disposing of documents in his capacity as company officer of Petroplus.

He had previously been arrested on charges of fuel smuggling together with former footballer Darren Debono and Libyan militia leader Fahmi Ben Khalifa.

Lawyer Roberto Montalto appearing for the couple, said Gordon Debono was pleading not guilty. His wife did not reply to any questions and a guilty plea was entered on her behalf by the court.

The court, presided by Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo, imposed a freezing order on all moveable and immovable property belonging to the couple as well as on the eleven companies.

Bail was denied, with the prosecution pointing to the seriousness of the charges and the fact that a number of witnesses need to testify. The accused also own property abroad and own several boats which could serve as a means to escape.

Lawyer Cinzia Azzopardi Alamango, from the Attorney General’s office, also argued that police investigations are still underway and a number of individuals still have to be interrogated.

Debono’s associate, Shawn Higgins, was also accused of money laundering in a separate arraignment. He pleaded not guilty but the court turned down his request for bail. He was also slapped with a freezing order.

The prosecution argued that Higgans was an employee of the Debonos and facilitated the money laundering.

Lawyer Montalto argued that the case against him was based on him cashing cheque for the Debonos, adding that there are bank records documenting everything. The court, however, denied the bail request.

Inspectors Joseph Xerri, Omar Caruana And James Turner prosecuted, together with lawyers Elaine Mercieca and Cinzia Azzopardi Alamango from the office of the AG.

 

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