Will Robert be his own man or continue in Joseph’s footsteps?

Knowing that Germany, together with the US and the UK, insisted on our country’s greylisting, does Robert Abela really want to clean up the dirt in our country and restore the good name that our country has always had until recently?

So now we have heard from FATF themselves about the three major problems that have led to Malta’s greylisting: tax evasion and avoidance; money laundering and unknown Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) of shady companies set up in Malta – all issues that people like me have been bringing up incessantly for the past five years, at least since the eruption of the Panama Papers volcano in 2016.

All issues that were systematically brushed away arrogantly by Joseph Muscat and his cronies, like Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and Edward Scicluna, and his yuppie bootlickers Silvio Schembri, Ian Borg, Rosianne Cutajar and company, with Robert Abela right in the middle of it, looking sideways and playing tweedle dee-tweedle dum.

Not only were our remonstrations ignored, but the government unleashed its trolls onto us, with threats, insults and catcalls of “Get a life” or “You are just jealous” being dished out daily like pastizzi, for years on end.

Have the Maltese police acted on issues that have been long pointed out by the Italian investigators? For example, the Italian police have suspicions about a certain Bruno Tucci, a shareholder of Mbt Services, set up in 1996, and Genergia Ltd, set up in 2010, both based in Malta. A cocaine racket would have been operated through the company Haru Pharma Limited, based in Balzan, whose director is Sebastiano Calabrò, of the Calabrò narcotics clan in Calabria. Cosa Nostra would be represented in Malta through Antonio Padovani from Catania who created a joint venture, operating bingo halls and slot machines in Malta. The Italian police report alleges that the Mafia clan Santapaola Ercolano operates in Malta in drugs, that the ‘Ndrangheta from Calabria operates in Malta in the i-gaming industry, in particular the Tegano clan. It alleges that the Maltese citizen Joseph Galea, killed on 5 February 2014, was frequently travelling to Sicily.

Have the Maltese police investigated these companies and servers?

Or else, another example: the Italian investigators identified a certain Gino Pennetta who was utilising the gaming website www.specialbet36s.com, which is hosted at the software house Easy World Ltd, whose address is an apartment in Charles Court, St Luke’s Road, Pietà. Did the Maltese police investigate what was really happening on this betting site?

The Italian investigators also listened in onto a telephone conversation between a certain Paolo Rampino and Ignazio Russo. On 26 October 2016 Russo picked up Rampino in his Peugeot at Malta International Airport, where he had just arrived from Istanbul. During this conversation, the Italian police could listen in on how big amounts of cash, resulting from illegal betting online, would be transferred across borders.

On investigating closer, the Italians found out that Rampino was part of the management of a company based in Malta, named Itechnogaming Ltd, which was in possession of a regular and legal gaming licence issued by the Maltese Lotteries and Gaming Authority in April 2013.

This company belongs to a certain Carmelo Raspante who, apart from being the father-in-law of Rampino was, according to the Italian investigators, also involved in the collection of illegal betting money in Italy, which was then transferred abroad through a company named “I-SOLUTIONS S.r.l.” based in Noceto, Italy and another company, also named ITECHNOGAMING Ltd”, but this time based in Poland.

Did the Maltese police investigate this illegal international collaboration between a Maltese, Italian and Polish company?

And now that we have been included in the greylist, does Robert Abela intend acting seriously or is he going to continue in the footsteps of his crooked predecessor, Joseph Muscat?

For example, the German government has just confirmed that it has bought for €2 millions a CD with data of about around one million people who have non declared money and investments in Dubai. The German government has also confirmed that it is ready to put the data contained about these tax evaders on the CD at the disposal of those governments who want to curb down on tax evasion.

We already know that Yorgen Fenech and Paul Apap Bologna had hidden companies in Dubai. I would not be surprised if cousins Ryan and Keith Schembri have them too. But does Robert Abela really mean business? Is Robert Abela going to ask the German government for the names of the Maltese tax evaders in Dubai?

Knowing that Germany, together with the US and the UK, insisted on our country’s greylisting, does Robert Abela really want to clean up the dirt in our country and restore the good name that our country has always had until recently? Or is he going to continue wallowing in the same slime that the Muscat administration has dipped us in?

The next few weeks will be enough for us to understand whether Abela is his own man or not.