Police call in several people in relation to Hillman-Schembri money laundering probe

Financial practitioner Matthew Pace, former Allied Newspaper director Vince Buhagiar and Keith Schembri’s business partner Malcolm Scerri questioned by police

Former Allied Newspapers managing director, Adrian Hillman
Former Allied Newspapers managing director, Adrian Hillman

Financial services practitioner Matthew Pace was called in for questioning by police in relation to the money laundering probe involving Adrian Hillman and Keith Schembri, MaltaToday has learnt.

Pace, a director and shareholder of Zenith Financial Management, was one of several people questioned over the past couple of days.

MaltaToday understands that Keith Schembri’s business partner, Malcolm Scerri and former Allied Newspaper director Vince Buhagiar were also called in for questioning.

Under its former name, MFSP, Zenith had managed investment accounts for both Hillman and Schembri.

A magisterial inquiry into allegations that Hillman, the former managing director of Allied Newspapers, received bribes from former Schembri, the ex-OPM chief of staff, was concluded recently and passed on to the Attorney General.

Hillman is understood to have received €650,000 on the account of a British Virgin Islands company he owned through a series of deposits.

The regular money transfers happened between 2011 and 2015 through the use of offshore accounts, among others. 

Schembri’s Kasco Group had won a competitive tender to supply Allied Group’s Progress Press with its new multi-million-euro printing press in 2010.

Former Opposition leader Simon Busutill had claimed Schembri used Gibraltarian company Malmos and various bank accounts in Switzerland and Gibraltar, as well as his Pilatus bank account, to pass on money to Hillman or Hillman’s offshore company, Lester Holdings. 

At MFSP Pace personally handled the accounts belonging to Hillman and Schembri.

The investment firm has been of interest to at least two magisterial inquiries as a result of the Panama Papers leak in 2016.

Schembri had persistently refused to say if his offshore holdings were declared to the local tax authorities.