The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

Watch: PM says HSBC plea deal ‘not reached to benefit Carmelo Abela’

Friday, 14 January 2022, 14:10 Last update: about 9 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela dispelled the ideal that a plea deal reached with a man charged with the 2010 HSBC heist was reached for the benefit of Minister Carmelo Abela.

Replying to questions, Abela denied that the agreement for a 10-year jail term was reached to stop Darren Debono, known as it-Topo, from spilling the beans on the crime.

Abela at the time worked at the bank’s security centre, and last year he was implicated in the heist, with the minister repeatedly denying any involvement.

Vince Muscat, one of the suspects who hinted at the involvement of the minister, had a request for a presidential pardon to share details about the heist rejected by the Cabinet.

Debono last week reached a last-minute deal, pleading guilty to the crime, and will now testify in the case against Muscat.

Muscat is in jail for 15 years after having admitted his guilt in the assassination of jousneliat Daphne Caruana Galizia.

As part of the deal, Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg dropped charges of attempted homicide against Debono.

The prime minister on Friday criticised the “unjust attack” on Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg in the wake of the plea deal. The Police Union was among those who criticised the outcome.

Abela said he has full faith in the Attorney General.


Video: Miguela Xuereb/Newsbook

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