The Malta Independent 14 April 2021, Wednesday

Allied Group and Times of Malta are the victims, not the perpetrators – Strickland Foundation

Wednesday, 7 April 2021, 13:58 Last update: about 6 days ago

Allied Group and the Times of Malta are victims of the alleged crimes which have been emerging in court over the past weeks, not the perpetrators, the Strickland Foundation said in a right of reply on Wednesday.

The right of reply is reproduced in full below:

The Chairman of The Strickland Foundation, Judge Giovanni Bonello, refers to Alfred Sant’s opinion piece entitled “What the Heir has claimed”, which appeared in the Malta Independent on 1 April 2021.

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In the context of facts emerging in court on the alleged involvement of former directors of Allied Newspapers Limited and Progress Press Company Limited in criminal activity, Dr Sant states that these developments give some sort of credence to the claims made by Mr Robert Hornyold Strickland “regarding how the Times of Malta set-up has been organised in the years following his aunt’s death”. He also states that “there have been too many obscure developments that do not cohere together in how ‘The Times’ has been run” and that “it does seem as if those in charge of ‘The Times’ both in the media way and as a commercial entity, are doing their best to skirt having to give a serious account of what has happened or failed to happen”.

This is wrong on many counts.

The Strickland Foundation has already publicly stated that it is shocked by the facts that are emerging and, as the largest shareholder of Allied Newspapers Limited, which in turn is the main shareholder in Progress Press Company Limited, it awaits the due course of justice so that the rights of all shareholders, including of Mr Hornyold Strickland, are safeguarded and all wrongdoing is brought to light.

At the same time, and contrary to the impression that the article portrays, it does not result that the editorial and/or management of The Times of Malta are “doing their best” to avoid giving an account of their actions. The Allied Group has strengthened considerably its internal governance structures and it results that it has also been co-operating fully with the police investigation to ensure that justice is served. Throughout, the editorial team continued to function as it has always done, independently and at arm’s length from the management of the Group. The Allied Group and Times of Malta are victims of the alleged crimes, not the perpetrators.

The Strickland Foundation is saddened also that the baseless and unjustified claims of Mr Hornyold Strickland against it, which were turned down by the courts in 2018 and are under appeal, were picked up by your columnist and spun in a way as to discredit the Foundation when the truth is very different. Suffice only to say that Ms Mabel Strickland set up a Foundation in her lifetime precisely to ensure and guarantee the independence of The Times of Malta after her demise. The Times of Malta today, just as it did when Mabel Strickland was alive, stands proud of its track record in independent objective journalism.

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