The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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Representatives of banks submit documents to court in Nexia BT partners case

Thursday, 3 June 2021, 10:26 Last update: about 4 years ago

Representatives of various banks today presented documents to the court in the case involving Nexia BT partners.

The compilation of evidence against Nexia BT partners Brian Tonna, Karl Cini, Manuel Castagna and their financial controller Katrin Bondin Carter continued this morning. 

The four face charges of money laundering and other financial crimes in relation to inquiries involving former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri. They are pleading not guilty.

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In September 2020, Tonna and Cini lost their warrants to practice as accountants after the regulatory authority initiated disciplinary proceedings against them.

The board also suspended the registration of Nexia BT, BTI Management Limited and Nexia BT Advisory Services Limited.

11:38 The court praises the manner in which the sitting was conducted. That’s it for today. Thank you for following. 

11:36 The next sitting is on 13 July between 9am and 11am.

11:35 The court says it will decide the matter in chambers. 

11:35 Tonna Lowell: “You have very stringent conditions and guarantees... there is no risk.” 

11:34 The prosecution declares that there are no further witnesses today. Defence lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell says he filed an application concerning the curfew imposed as part of bail conditions on Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, as well as their being denied access to the sea shore. “There is no risk of them escaping,” argues Tonna Lowell. 

11:24 Darmanin says he was always present when the police were there. He identified the creditors and debtors of the companies and paid FSS and the workers’ salaries. He clarifies that the companies were not doing business at the time. 

11:23 Paul Darmanin, appointed as administrator for the companies by the court, testifies next. He is asked about his administration but defence lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell objects. He cannot be asked about anything after his appointment, argues the lawyer. The prosecution clarifies that he is only to provide an update on his work to the court. 

11:14 She had been asked to exhibit licences issued to the accused. She exhibits BT and BTI Ltd licences as company service providers. She also exhibits Manuel Castagna's certificate as an approved auditor. 

11:13 An MFSA representative takes the stand next. 

11:13 He recognises Brian Tonna, Cini, Castagna as his accountants. “I've worked with them for 30 years,” he says. Micallef says he doesn't believe he had made any business with Nexia or the defendants. “This year I did 40, 50 sales, I don't remember all of them,” he says. The court remarks that the witness should have been told what to prepare. He will testify again once he finds the data requested. 

11:12 John Micallef takes the stand next. He owns J. Micallef Builders. He's a contractor and has petrol stations. The prosecution declares that there are no investigations into the witness. 

11:04 She exhibits similar information relating to the defendants' accounts. She steps off the witness stand and a representative from Lombard Bank is next. The procedure is repeated. 

11:00 He steps off the witness stand and an APS Bank representative takes the stand next. 

11:00 He exhibits copies of IDs, sanction letters, account opening forms, statements from 2015-2019 for a number of companies, including Nexia BT. SPA Services Ltd and Willerby Trade Inc were never clients of the bank, the BOV representative says. 

10:51 The witness says that Brian Tonna has several accounts and credit cards with the bank, as well as a life insurance plan. Tonna gave power of attorney to Katrin Bondin Carter, Karl Cini and Manuel Castagna on some of the accounts, the BOV representative says. 

10:50 A Bank of Valletta representative takes the stand next. 

10:50 A representative of HSBC Bank takes the stand. He is asked to present information on BTI Ltd. “We never had accounts for BTI Holdings,” he says. He is also asked to present information on the accused's accounts from 2005 onwards. He presents the documentation.The court observes that there is a list of items not presented in court. “These are mostly account closure forms,” the witness says. He steps off the stand. 

10:43 There was a mistake in a date. After correcting the error, he steps off the stand. 

10:42 Emmanuel Schembri takes the stand. He is summoned to make a clarification on his previous testimony. 

10:42 Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech emerges from chambers and the sitting begins. A court-appointed transcriber presents 24 statements made by the accused. 

10:20 The next sitting involving similar charges of money laundering and financial crime against Nexia BT partners will start shortly. 

 

 

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