Adrian Hillman claims unfair dismissal from Allied Newspapers

In a statement the board of directors of Allied Newspapers “robustly” rejected Adrian Hillman's claims of unfair dismissal

Former Managing Director of Allied Newspapers, Adrian Hillman, has taken his former employers to court seeking compensation for unfair dismissal in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Hillman had resigned from the publisher after being suspended in March after being named in the Panama Papers exposé. He had been managing director of Allied Newspapers and non-executive chairman of its sister company Progress Press Ltd at the time, but had stepped down in the aftermath of the scandal.

In March, blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia had published claims that Hillman had been receiving kickbacks from Keith Schembri, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff. Schembri also owns Kasco Ltd, a paper supplier, and was alleged to have been awarded work contracts at Progress Press in return for kickbacks.

Both men's names had appeared as owners of offshore companies in secretive jurisdictions in the so-called Panama Papers. Allied Newspapers had suspended Hillman pending the outcome of an “independent internal inquiry” to look into the allegations. The findings of the inquiry are yet to be made public.

Hillman had tendered his resignation from the company on May 25,  claiming constructive dismissal. “The fact that things were left pending for so long was prejudicing his health and that of his family,” the application is reported to read. He is claiming that his resignation was prompted by the uncertainty surrounding his future, although he had not been formally notified of any disciplinary action against him.

In a statement, the board of directors of Allied Newspapers “robustly” rejected Hillman's claims of unfair dismissal.

The court application, which was filed against the publisher before the Industrial Tribunal earlier today, was not immediately available, however Hillman is reportedly claiming that he had not been formally notified of the investigation in his regard and had not heard anything from the company until he was summoned to appear before the inquiry board in May. He is reported to have said that that was the first time he was made aware of the existence of the board and had insisted on being officially informed as to what was being alleged in his regard.

He claimed the company’s subsequent failure to respond to his requests for details on the allegations had placed him in an “unsustainable position, effectively dismissing him without informing him so.”

Lawyer Prof. Ian Refalo signed the application.

 

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