The Malta Independent 14 April 2021, Wednesday

Process to extradite Adrian Hillman to Malta begins

Thursday, 1 April 2021, 09:43 Last update: about 13 days ago

The process to extradite former Allied Group managing director Adrian Hillman has kicked off, although it may take some time to conclude.

The Times of Malta reported on Thursday that Maltese authorities had sent a detailed extradition request to UK authorities last week, but that no reply has been forthcoming just yet.

The process to bring Hillman to Malta could be a long one, with many legal steps necessary. 

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It will also be the first time that Malta’s new post-Brexit extradition treaty with the UK will be put to the test.

Hillman, who has been living in the UK for some years now, is expected to face money laundering and graft charges in relation to the case which has seen 11 others – including former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and Karl Cini – arrested and charged as well.

Over the past week, a court has heard how Progress Press – which is fully owned by Allied Group, which also runs the Times of Malta and the Sunday Times of Malta – ended up paying $6.5 million extra for printing machines with the money shared between Keith Schembri, Malcolm Scerri and Allied Group directors Adrian Hillman and Vince Buhagiar.

Court testimony given by Inspector Joseph Xerri from the police anti-money laundering unit detailed a complex web of payments made through offshore companies through which the four men benefitted from the profit at the expense of the company.

"What should have been a relatively simple transaction became a convoluted series of transactions intended to hide commissions... coordinated by the same people who were involved in the deal," the inspector testified.

Hillman's offshore company Lester Holdings received US$125,000 from Kasco Engineering, plus a further $100,000. Hillman’s predecessor Vincent Buhagiar also received €50,000 from Malmos, another offshore company, into his MFSP account, the courts heard.

The inspector said the police believe Keith Schembri paid out a total of $5.5 million in backhanders. "Experts had described the organisation as a professional money laundering operation," Xerri said.

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