No action in Malta against suspected fuel smuggler

Court lifts injunction requested by Gordon Debono after a representative of the Sanctions Monitoring Board admits no action is being pursued locally against the suspected fuel smuggler

Gordon Debono (centre) with Darren Debono (left) and Fahmi Bin Khalifa, are suspected of masterminding a fuel smuggling ring involving Libya, Malta and Italy
Gordon Debono (centre) with Darren Debono (left) and Fahmi Bin Khalifa, are suspected of masterminding a fuel smuggling ring involving Libya, Malta and Italy

No action will be taken against suspected fuel smuggler Gordon Debono in Malta, the court was informed this morning.

The case concerns an injunction filed by Debono against the Maltese government over attempts to file for sanctions against the man with the UN.

Gordon Debono together with Darren Debono had been arrested in September 2017 by the Italian authorities in Catania and Lampedusa after the arrest of Libyan fuel smuggler Fahmi Slim Bin Khalifa.

They were accused of forming part of a fuel smuggling ring involving Libya, Malta and Italy. The Maltese pair had earlier been flagged by the UN as having been involved in the smuggling of fuel from Libya.

MaltaToday reported last month that Russia had blocked a Maltese request for UN sanctions against the two suspects, despite the measure having the support of the rest of the Security Council and other member States.

In an application before the First Hall of the Civil Court, Gordon Debono had insisted that he had never been informed about the Maltese investigation into his dealings and that the only investigation he knew about was the Italian one. An Italian court granted him bail, citing amongst other reasons, the fact that he had a clean criminal record – something his lawyer Roberto Montalto had stressed.

The Maltese court, last month, provisionally upheld the request for a warrant of prohibitory injunction filed by Debono, preventing the government from applying the UN sanctions against him.

However, in court today, a representative of the Sanctions Monitoring Board informed Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi that no action was to be taken against the man.

This despite Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela having said on 22 July that he would support every action taken to impose UN sanctions.

As a result of the development, the court lifted the injunction, given the admission by the Sanctions Monitoring Board that no action was being taken in Malta against Debono.

READ ALSO: Timing of sanctions request against fuel smugglers remains unclear

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