Former footballers busted in Operation Proteus have assets frozen

Darren Debono and Jeffrey Chetcuti were arrested and arraigned in a major anti-money laundering sting last week codenamed Operation Proteus

Darren Debono (left) and Jeffrey Chetcuti (right)
Darren Debono (left) and Jeffrey Chetcuti (right)

The court has issued a freezing order on all moveable and immovable property belonging to former footballers Darren Debono and Jeffrey Chetcuti and four companies belonging to them.

The pair were charged last week with money laundering and fuel smuggling as part of Operation Proteus that involved the Maltese police, Europol and law enforcement agencies from other countries.

The companies belonging to Debono and Chetcuti affected by the court order are World Water Fisheries Ltd, Andrea Martina Ltd, Marie De Lourdes Company Ltd and Coast Ltd.

Debono is the single shareholder of World Water Fisheries and Andrea Martina Ltd. He owns half of all issued shares of Marie De Lourdes Company Ltd, the other half owned by Sammy Vella.

Coast Ltd, a fishing company, is fully owned by Jeffrey Chetcuti.

The two former national team footballers were arrested and arraigned in court following a nationwide anti-smuggling sting operation during which 15 people were arrested. They were charged with money laundering and smuggling offences, and are currently in custody at Corradino Correctional Facility.

The compilation of evidence against the pair had to start today but was postponed to 14 December after the magistrate ended up in quarantine.

Three other people, Gordon Debono, his wife Yvette-Marie Debono, and Shawn Higgans, were subsequently also charged in relation to the same operation.

Gordon Debono and Darren Debono (no relation between the two) were arrested back in 2017 by Italian police as part of the Dirty Oil operation that sought to curb fuel smuggling from Libya.

Gordon Debono has also been subjected to a freezing order, together with his wife and 11 companies.

The companies affected are Hi-Low Properties Ltd, Petroplus Ltd, KB Investments Ltd, KB Lines Ltd, Seabrass Ltd, Petrobunkers Ltd, Oil and Ship Ltd, Gorge Ltd, S-Cape Yacht Charter Ltd, S-Cape Ltd and Yves Ltd.

More in National