Keith Schembri receiving treatment for serious medical condition

Court grants Keith Schembri’s father permission to skip sittings to be by his son’s side after the former OPM chief of staff was hospitalised

Keith Schembri
Keith Schembri

Keith Schembri was hospitalised on Monday and is receiving treatment for a serious medical condition.

Schembri was not in court today when the case against him and others concerning financial crimes continued being heard.

His lawyer Edward Gatt, broke the news of Schembri’s hospitalisation when he informed the court that the former chief of staff in the Office of the Prime Minister could not attend. 

Gatt asked the magistrate to excuse Schembri because he was hospitalised. He will neither be able to attend Wednesday's sitting.

The lawyer also asked the court for permission to allow Schembri’s father, Alfio, to be exempted from attending the sittings so he can be by his son. The court accepted both requests.

Schembri, his father and two associates from the Kasco Group, a company belonging to Schembri, are facing various financial crime charges, including money laundering, corruption and fraud.

Schembri had been diagnosed with a rare cancer in his eye in 2016 for which he received treatment in the US.

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had divulged details of Schembri’s condition at the time, implying that his tumour was inoperable and his days were numbered.

When testifying in the compilation of evidence against Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech in June 2020, Schembri said the blogposts about his cancer had hurt him.

“It hurt me when she wrote about my cancer and my 13-year-old daughter came and asked if I was going to die,” Schembri had testified.

It was only in December 2016 that then prime minister Joseph Muscat had acknowledged Schembri’s ailment after he had not been seen for some time in public.

“He is undergoing some treatment but his health is not as has been reported by some sections of the media. I am still waiting for an apology from that section of the media,” Muscat had said.

Schembri had also testified in the Egrant inquiry about the pain Caruana Galizia’s blog caused him and the impact it had on his family.

It later emerged that Schembri’s treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota was partially paid for by Fenech, who had also accompanied him on the trip.

It is unclear whether Schembri’s latest ailment is related to his previous condition.