The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Maksar brother claims Ryan Schembri transferred €25 million to Dubai bank account

Wednesday, 11 May 2022, 13:37 Last update: about 8 days ago

Adrian 'Tal-Maksar' Agius had claimed in a sworn statement that Ryan Schembri had transferred €25 million to Dubai.

This came out on Wednesday in court, during the compilation of evidence against Ryan Schembri, who is facing money laundering and fraud charges. He appeared in front of Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech.

Francois Dalli, appearing parte civile, mentioned how Adrian Agius known as 'tal-Maksar' mentioned in a statement to the police that Schembri had transferred €25million to a Dubai bank account.

Adrian Agius, previously a director linked to the More Hamrun supermarket, is currently under arrest in connection with the assassinations of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Carmel Chircop.

The prosecution was led by police inspector Anthony Scerri of the Financial Crimes Investigation Department and Karl Muscat from the Attorney General's office.

Scerri recounted how in November 2020 he was handed a file with three judicial complaints by Darren Casha, alleging that Schembri had defrauded him of millions of euro.

Schembri's escape from Malta in September 2014, took place soon after he had started procedures aimed at transferring his supermarket business to Casha, who was then under the impression that the More Supermarkets chain was in excellent financial health.

Scerri explained how in 2013 Casha stepped in as a guarantor for Adrian Zammit, who had handed over €2 million in cheques to Schembri for a meat business venture. He also acted as a guarantor for a certain Mohammed for a company called Copacabana.

After the judicial complaints were raised, police issued a blue notice against Schembri. A blue notice is issued when a person is believed to have information about a crime or a criminal suspect.

Casha had met Schembri in Libya and had agreed to team up with Mohammed and set up a meat business together. Schembri had suggested a trademark called "Sorriso".

Casha had told the police that only the cheap products like water used to arrive in Malta but not the expensive ones. After financial difficulties were evident, Schembri had suggested that he transfer his shares in More Supermarkets to Casha.

This was done through an auditing company handpicked by Casha.

Casha had told the police that angry creditors had started showing up asking for money once Schembri fled Malta. He had realised that the company was in great debt.

Inspector Scerri told the court that whilst the international arrest warrant for Schembri was being issued, he came to know of other judicial complaints against him. A certain Steve Delia had handed around €115,000 to Schembri, but a Banif cheque he received in return of €129,000 bounced.

Other complaints from creditors of Schembri were also retrieved. Another one, Christian Delia had said he had paid more than €1 million to Schembri.

The escape route

According to Scerri, Schembri's ex-wife said that Schembri once told her to pack her things as they were leaving the country. He had looked "frightened and confused".

They had left Malta, along with their son, to Sicily using the ferry. They had then taken a flight to Amsterdam and eventually to Dubai. They lived for some time in Dubai, then going to Australia for a brief period and ultimately returning back to Dubai.

She had told the police that Schembri always paid in cash. Along with her son, they had decided to move to the UK, until they moved back to Malta. Schembri had decided to stay.

Inspector Scerri revealed that in 2017 the UK police had informed the Maltese police that Schembri had travelled from Dubai to UK. He said he could not understand how the local authorities never acted on this.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech was in disbelief when hearing about this and asked for all the information the police had on this incident.

According to the police, Schembri did not make use of any false documents during his time abroad.

A speeding ticket in Scotland is what ultimately landed Schembri in trouble, with an arrest warrant issued on 11 April 2022. Schembri was arrested a day later and ultimately he was extradited to Malta.

During the interrogation, Schembri had cooperated and said he always intended to pay back his creditors. He had told police that he was working on a big project, related to commodities, in order to be able to pay back his creditors.

Schembri told the police about two companies he had, one in the UK and one in the Seychelles. To date, police have no information on the Seychelles company.

Scottish police had seized two Macbook laptops belonging to Ryan Schembri, also a mobile phone and an HP computer. Schembri had refused to disclose the passwords to the devices.

Various bank accounts in the UK linked to Schembri were found but no properties under his name were traced. According to the Scottish intelligence, Schembri lead a comfortable life in the UK.


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