The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Hospitals inquiry: Shaukat Asad Ali accused of bribing public officials

Wednesday, 5 June 2024, 14:00 Last update: about 12 days ago

Shaukat Asad Ali, son of the Pakistani businessman at the centre of the Vitals Global Healthcare scandal, Shaukat Ali Chaudhry, appeared in court on Wednesday after travelling to Malta voluntarily in order to be arraigned.

Magistrate Leonard Caruana presided over the arraignment, in which Ali did not appear in court under arrest. The defendant, through his lawyer, declared to the court that he had come to court voluntarily and declared himself as notified both on a personal basis and on behalf of Euresia limited, STE Health Company and Tunisian company Incorp SRLA.

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Ali alone was charged with in the years between 2013 and 2023, having been involved in organised crime and participation in the same. He was further accused of bribing former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, the House of Representatives, former Minister Konrad Mizzi and Steward, previously Vitals’ accountant Christopher Spiteri.

He is accused of offences relating to money laundering, trading in influence fraud, making fraudulent gain to the detriment of the Government of Malta and conspiracy to commit an imprisonable crime in Malta.

Ali and Euresia alone were further charged with bribery, false accounting, misappropriation, failing to declare relevant income to VAT authorities between 2017-2020, making false declarations to VAT and Inland Revenue departments in that period.

A freezing order amounting to some €23 million was requested.
 
Ali, who described his occupation as a business development consultant, replied “absolutely not guilty” when asked what he was pleading to the charges. Joseph Muscat, too, had used that phrase, during his own arraignment last week.

At the start of the sitting the prosecution requested the separation of the proceedings against STE Health Company and those against the rest of the defendants.

Repubblika’s lawyer, Jason Azzopardi gave notice to the court that he had filed an application earlier this morning requesting the NGO be permitted to join the suit as parte civile.

Superintendent Hubert Cini and police Inspector Wayne Rodney Borg are prosecuting, assisted by prosecutors Francesco Refalo, Rebekah Spiteri and Shelby Aquilina.

Lawyer Shazoo Ghaznavi and Jessica Formosa are assisting Ali as defence counsel.

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