Alleged fuel smuggler wants police to investigate origin of rumour linking him to Caruana Galizia murder

Alleged fuel smuggler Gordon Debono wants police to investigate the source of rumours and the people responsible for spreading them, which he says includes people occupying prominent government decisions

Alleged fuel smuggler Gordon Debono has requested an urgent police investigation aimed at identifying the government-based source of rumours which had falsely connected him to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The request cites the conclusions of the public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s killing, which amongst other things, had declared that the State was responsible for spreading these rumours.

In a criminal complaint dated Tuesday, Debono, currently on bail over money laundering charges in connection with alleged fuel smuggling, formally asked the Commissioner of Police to launch an investigation into the source of the rumours, “and beyond that the persons who were responsible for spreading [them], including those who were or still are occupying prominent positions with the government.

Obviously, today it is crystal clear that this had been nothing but an action to exculpate or hide the persons who are really responsible or who had an interest in this case, the names of some of whom are now public.”

Debono quoted an excerpt from the acts of the inquiry in his letter. “The Board is informed that this is what happened after the assassination, when the Office of the Prime Minister disseminated the possibility that the individuals behind the murder could be persons connected to fuel smuggling. News which also began to be spread in the international press,” the report had said. 

READ ALSOHow smuggled Libyan oil brought by Debonos’ ships was stored in Malta

Debono had previously been reported by MaltaToday as having had a direct hand in an operation which smuggled contraband oil from sanction-hit Libya to Italy using Debono’s fishing fleet between 2014 and 2015. In 2020, Debono and his wife, Yvette, were charged with money laundering, with these proceedings having reached an advanced stage, currently stalled as the court awaits letters rogatory from jurisdictions overseas.

However, Debono’s letter pointed out, neither the amount allegedly laundered, nor the predicate offence (the crime whose proceeds required laundering) had yet been identified, two full years after the start of the proceedings. “This situation creates ambiguity and raises serious doubts as to whether my arrest was premeditated or vitiated in any way, by persons with connections to politicians, past and present, as well as with close ties to the police force, in order to obstruct justice.”

Ending with a reminder that “justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done,” Debono’s letter asks the Commissioner of Police to investigate the matter urgently and take action against whoever was involved in the actions, “due to personal motives or beyond that extraneous ones based on claims with no basis in fact.”

Lawyers Roberto Montalto and Joe Giglio are assisting the Debonos.