The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Former Allied Newspapers MD Adrian Hillman extradited to Malta

Friday, 28 May 2021, 14:47 Last update: about 3 months ago

Former Allied Newspapers managing director Adrian Hillman has been extradited to Malta.

Hillman is wanted in Malta on charges of money laundering and graft, related to the purchase of a printing press in a deal involving former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri. The former MD, who has been living in London, arrived in Malta on Friday afternoon.

The request by Malta’s attorney general had initially hit a snag when the UK requested more information, but the process has since gotten underway. Hillman’s lawyer said last week that his client had always intented to come to Malta voluntarily.

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He is expected to face money laundering and graft charges in relation to the case which has seen 11 others – including Keith Schembri and Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and Karl Cini – arrested and charged as well.

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 had 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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