The Malta Independent 30 September 2023, Saturday
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Ndrangheta raids: Maltese man arrested at request of Italian authorities contests EAW

Monday, 29 May 2023, 15:18 Last update: about 5 months ago

A Maltese man, wanted by the Italian authorities in connection with a large-scale anti-mafia sweep in January, has been released on bail after contesting what his lawyer says is an "adventurous" European Arrest Warrant issued against him.

59-year-old Marco German from Kalkara appeared in the dock before magistrate Elaine Mercieca on Monday morning. 

He had been arrested on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant issued by a court in Catanzaro, which requested his rendition - a request believed to have been prompted by his alleged involvement in the illicit trading of stolen vehicles. 

German's name had cropped up in the Italian media in connection with police raids on the 'Ndrangheta mafia clan which seized assets of over €200 million. 

The 'Ndrangheta organised crime group controls a large area of southern Calabria.

After the raids, Italian news outlets published a list of names, dozens of individuals, who are wanted by the Italian police on "serious suspicions, in various capacities, of association for mafia-type crime, external competition in mafia association, extortion, transportation and illegal possession of weapons, kidnapping, fraudulent transfer of values, illicit competition with violence and threat and trafficking of illegal influences, aggravated by the method and the mafia facilitation, as well as corruption, revelation of professional secrecy and association for delinquency aimed at the receiving and recycling of agricultural machinery, aggravated by transnationality and mafia facilitation."

The Italian police did not publish or confirm any of the names of the people involved.

Two Maltese individuals are on the published list: German and a William McManus, who is listed as being "judged separately." MaltaToday is informed that McManus had been arrested in Italy and is currently on bail. 

It is unclear, at this stage, as to whether German is wanted to answer charges of mafia conspiracy or simply for receiving and handling stolen goods, trailers in this case. His lawyers told the court this morning that German was simply a driver who had transported the stolen goods.

German did not give his consent to be sent to Italy in the custody of the Italian police. 

Lawyer Mark Vassallo, defence counsel to German together with lawyer Edward Gatt, made a formal request for supplementary information from the Italian authorities. Gatt told the court that he was aware that the request came from Italy, a neighbouring country with which Malta has mutual treaties.

The lawyers requested that German be released from arrest until their contestation of the EAW is decided. The prosecuting police inspector said he did not object to bail as long as sufficiently onerous conditions were imposed to ensure German's compliance.

Gatt replied that the defence did not object to strong bail conditions, but asked for a low bail deposit, pointing out that the defence was less than serene about the fact that German had been arraigned under arrest, despite not having any previous brushes with the law.

The lawyer described the Italian investigation as "adventurous" in scope, arguing that German's alleged involvement in the alleged crime was minimal. "It is almost, I'm not going to say vain, but definitely adventurous."

"In similar situations, our courts do not issue EAWs," said the lawyer, arguing that it was not right to impose financial hardship on a man over circumstances in which the Maltese courts had rejected similar requests.

The court upheld the request for bail, on condition that German deposit his ID card and passport in court and observe a curfew. 

Bail was secured by a €3,000 deposit and a personal guarantee of €10,000.

Inspector Roderick Spiteri is prosecuting.

 


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