Fuel smuggling case: Court provisionally upholds injunction preventing Malta from applying for UN sanctions

Gordon Debono files warrant of prohibitory injuction, arguing he was never notified of any investigation by the Maltese police or government in his regard

Darren Debono and Gordon Debono
Darren Debono and Gordon Debono

A court has provisionally upheld a warrant of prohibitory injunction filed by suspected fuel smuggler Gordon Debono against the government, preventing it from applying for UN sanctions against him.

Darren and Gordon Debono (no relation to each other) were arrested in September 2017 by Italian police on the island of Lampedusa and in Catania, respectively, just a month after the arrest of Libyan smuggling kingpin Fahmi Slim Bin Khalifa by militias.

Just three days ago, MaltaToday reported that Russia had blocked a Maltese bid for United Nations sanctions against the pair. The request had the full support of the UN security council and other UN members.

But in his application filed in the First Hall of the Civil Court and provisionally upheld today, Gordon Debono argues that he was never notified of any investigation by the Maltese police or government in his regard.

The only investigation which translated into a prosecution against him were those before the Italian courts, he says in the application.

The Italian courts had ordered his release on bail, declaring that the case against him was “based solely on conjectures” claims his lawyer Roberto Montalto, arguing that it was upon these same conjectures that the defendants were planning on bringing to the attention of the United Nations.

In addition to this, Debono has no criminal record and has no local proceedings against him, said the lawyer, adding that it made no sense that a sovereign state is requested to sanction one of its subjects in the manner requested by the Maltese authorities.

Warrants of prohibitory injunction are normally provisionally upheld until the court hears the parties' evidence and submissions on the merits, before it proceeds to judgment on whether or not to uphold the warrant.