PN website questions Abela’s ‘Russian strings’

Russian whose golden passport featured in Tonna-Schembri kickback investigation took on Robert Abela as lawyer in property dispute

Prime Minister Robert Abela’s legal service to a Russian national who obtained Maltese citizenship through the Individual Investor Programme, is the subject of the Nationalist Party’s latest missive against the Labour leader.

Abela was a Labour MP and Cabinet consultant to Joseph Muscat when on 15 October, 2019, he represented Evgeny Filobokov in a civil lawsuit against Fort Cambridge Property Management.

Filobokov happens to be one of three Russian clients who received their golden passport through the intermediation of Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna, the proceeds of which were the subject of a criminal investigation into an alleged kickback to Keith Schembri, Muscat’s former chief of staff.

But a new PN website on Robert Abela is now suggesting Abela has been sending out mixed messages on the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.

The PN is suggesting Abela is refusing to stop selling Maltese passports to Russian citizens as both the EU and the United States demand an end to golden passports for Russian oligarchs because of other interests.

“What is it about Robert Abela that made it so difficult for him to do the right thing? Could there be something at stake for our marionette we call Prime Minister?” the PN said.

“He happened to know Evgeny Filobokov, a Russian businessman involved in the transportation industry, who acquired a Maltese golden passport through the IIP program. According to an FIAU report, Filobokov and two other Russians Irina Orlova and Viktor Vashkevich paid bribes totalling to €166,832 to Willerby Trade Inc., an offshore company directed by none other than Brian Tonna...

“On October 15th 2019, when Malta was going through one of its darkest period in history, with Joseph Muscat having already resigned disgracefully from Parliament, Robert Abela filed and signed a civil lawsuit on behalf of Evgeny Filobokov against Fort Cambridge Property Management Limited and others.

“The case was a dispute which was of a purely civil nature – but it begs the question, what else did Robert Abela do for Evgeny Filobokov?”

On the same day, Malta’s citizenship-by-investment agency Community Malta announced it will suspend all golden passport applications from Russian and Belarusian nationals due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine because “existent due diligence checks cannot be carried out effectively because of the war.”

The PN’s website asks how Filobokov got to be Abela’s client at the time of his consultant’s role to Muscat; for how long he had been his client; and whether he was introduced to him by Tonna and Schembri.

The bottom line is that while the Ukrainian people together with their President are fighting to their last breath and their blood is flowing through the streets, Robert Abela is still slurping from the passport’s scheme gravy train, contrary to what Roberta Metsola, Bernard Grech and their dignified peers are proposing,” the PN said.

“Robert Abela is as thirsty for control as Muscat, if not worse. He is committed to blatantly play Rasputin with Putin the sadistic murderer. In the next election, don’t let the leech suck your vote from you. Vote him out.”