More witnesses testify in Adrian Hillman case

The case against Adrian Hillman, who stands charged with financial crimes, including money laundering and fraud, continued on Wednesday

Adrian Hilman
Adrian Hilman

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech heard more witnesses this morning in the case against the former Allied Group CEO, Adrian Hillman.

Hillman faces charges of money laundering, conspiracy to commit a crime, defrauding Progress Press, making fraudulent gain, making a false declaration to a public authority and accepting bribes as a managing director of Allied Newspapers and Chairman of Progress Press.

Hillman is denying the charges.

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech is presiding over the case. Mark Refalo, Stefano Filletti and Nicole Galea are defence counsel.

Inspector Joseph Xerri is prosecuting, aided by lawyers Antoine Agius Bonnici, Andrea Zammit and Sean Xerri DeCaro from the Attorney General's office.

The case revolves around a new printing press purchased by Progress Press from Kasco, the company owned by former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, when Allied Newspapers moved its operations to Mrieħel from Valletta.

The court has heard how the machinery was overvalued and the difference was allegedly pocketed by Schembri, Hillman and others.


12:59 That's it for today. Thank you for following. A summary will appear shortly. Kurt Sansone
12:53 The case file is to be sent to the Attorney General. The next sitting is on 1 December between 11am and noon. Kurt Sansone
12:52 Agius Bonnici says that there are no further witnesses to be heard in this case. Kurt Sansone
12:51 The witness has finished his deposition and steps off the stand. Kurt Sansone
12:46 Theuma: “At the time… part of the work we'd do included site visits and photo reports of models and serial numbers. We had been asked to make a site visit report... on site we met Noel Galea. We saw the machines in various locations and issued our report.” Kurt Sansone
12:45 Caruana steps down and Pierre George Theuma, an engineer and currently CEO of Malta Life Sciences Park, steps up to testify. The Life Sciences Park falls under Malta Enterprise. Kurt Sansone
12:44 Caruana explains that the equipment was related to printing. When compared to the original investment plan, there was some change over time, he says. “The majority was OK but three pieces of equipment had mismatching model numbers.” Kurt Sansone
12:40 Caruana says the machines were an HP digital press. “The project had three phases. They had to buy a press for small volume runs, then additional equipment and thirdly a digitally enhanced press,” he says. Kurt Sansone
12:38 Vella steps off the witness stand and Herbert Caruana takes his place. Caruana is an engineer who works at Malta Enterprise. He is asked about the machines bought by Progress Press. Kurt Sansone
12:37 The witness says he had simply attached receipts, which had been on file to the email. “It happened way before my time,” he insists. Kurt Sansone
12:36 Cross-examined by defence lawyer Stefano Filletti, Vella says he started working with Allied after Hillman had left the company. Kurt Sansone
12:36 He points out that the invoice he was being shown predates his employment by three years. Vella says the invoice never enters the accounting system, the payment is what is recorded not the receipt. Kurt Sansone
12:28 Lawyer Antoine Agius Bonnici from the AG’s office asks what the receipts were for. “They refer to long before I started working at Allied,” the witness replies. The prosecuting lawyer presses him on what was bought, but the witness insists that he cannot answer. Kurt Sansone
12:26 Vella is shown an email from July 2016. He says: “A few days after I started working with Allied, the financial controller informed me that the company had a sale by auction.” The email was telling Malta Enterprise the three payments had been made and receipts were attached. Kurt Sansone
12:25 The first witness is called. Accountant Adam Vella takes the stand. He has been an Allied Newspapers employee since 2016. Kurt Sansone
12:23 The parties have agreed that to facilitate questions and answers to witnesses, when a document is needed from a magisterial inquiry, the party desiring to make reference to it must inform the deputy registrar in advance and be allowed to make printouts of the relevant extracts. Kurt Sansone
12:23 Our senior court reporter Matthew Agius is following today’s session in the compilation of evidence against former Allied Group CEO Adrian Hillman. Kurt Sansone
12:20 Good afternoon. Kurt Sansone