Keith Schembri expected to be charged on money laundering claims

Police could press charges against Keith Schembri over magisterial inquiry requested by former PN leader Simon Busutil into graft claims involving former managing director of Allied Newspapers, Adrian Hillman

Keith Schembri is to be charged after a money laundering probe
Keith Schembri is to be charged after a money laundering probe

The former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri is among several people expected to be charged on Saturday morning over a money laundering probe that could include the former managing director of Allied Newspapers, Adrian Hillman.

The arraignments come following the conclusion of a magisterial inquiry into allegations that Schembri paid Hillman some €650,000 in bribes between 2011 and 2015. The payments are thought to have been routed through offshore companies and accounts, to Hillman’s BVI registered company, Lester Holdings. Schembri’s Kasco Group had previously won a competitive tender to supply Allied Group’s Progress Press with its new multi-million-euro printing press in 2010.

It was Schembri himself who broke the news of his impending arraignment in a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday. He said the magisterial inquiry recommended that criminal action be taken against the directors of Allied Newspapers and himself, as the inquiring Magistrate had ruled that the news outlet defrauded Malta Enterprise.

Former Opposition leader Simon Busutill has claimed Schembri used Gibraltarian company Malmos and various bank accounts in Switzerland and Gibraltar, as well as his Pilatus bank account, to pass on money to Hillman or Hillman’s offshore company, Lester Holdings. 

In his post, Schembri maintains that Progress Press had issued a tender, in which three companies bid, and the tender was scrutinised by auditors and two boards within the company.  “This tender was won because our bid was more than €2 million cheaper that the closest competitor,”  Schembri said, blaming the “Nationalist establishment” for pushing for his prosecution.