Ex-footballer in smuggling case claims damages after BMW gutted during police custody

Footballer Jeffrey Chetcuti’s €30,000 BMW 420MSport’s interior gutted during the time spent in police vehicle compound

BMW 420 (File photo)
BMW 420 (File photo)

Footballer Jeffrey Chetcuti has filed a claim for damages after discovering that his seized BMW 420MSport's interior had been gutted during the time it had been in the police vehicle compound.

Chetcuti is accused of smuggling fuel from sanction-hit Libya together with another former football player, Darren Debono.

In a judicial protest filed late on Monday, by lawyers Charles Mercieca, Gianluca Caruana Curran, Stefano FIlletti and Margo Zammit Fiorentino, Chetcuti claims the €30,000 vehicle - seized in 2020 after he was also charged with money laundering-had been transported to the police’s Pembroke vehicle compound in order to preserve it, pending the outcome of the proceedings against him.

The lawyers point out that two years after his arrest, with proceedings still at an early stage, Chetcuti’s car and other belongings were still seized. 

Some time ago, Chetcuti’s lawyers had requested the Criminal Court to order that the vehicle be returned to him. The Court had imposed the condition that the car must first be insured before it could be released. However, in view of the criminal proceedings against Chetcuti, no insurance company was in a position to provide the requested cover.

This state of affairs meant that Chetcuti had to find a third party who was willing to provide the court with a hypothetical over property of an equivalent value to the car.

After the Criminal Court finally acceded to the request for the release of the vehicle, on July 20 this year, Chetcuti had gone to the police vehicle compound and found that the car’s doors had been forced open. All of the upholstery and the airbags had also been removed, the protest claims.

In the judicial protest, his lawyers stressed that Chetcuti was currently presumed innocent and that the defendants had failed to uphold their obligation of ensuring that his belongings were safe and reserved his right to file a claim for damages against the State Advocate and the Commissioner of Police.