Times internal inquiry on Adrian Hillman concluded

Allied Newspapers’ board of directors examining findings by internal inquiry led by Giovanni Bonello

Adrian Hillman, Managing director of Allied Group
Adrian Hillman, Managing director of Allied Group

An internal inquiry launched by the publishers of The Times into allegations of graft in regard to Allied Newspapers’ former managing director Adrian Hillman, has been concluded.

Last week, judge Giovanni Bonello – appointed in March to chair the internal inquiry – was also appointed chairman of the Strickland Foundation, which controls 78% of the Allied Newspapers.

Bonello will be effectively presenting his internal inquiry to a board of directors that includes the Strickland Foundation he himslef chairs.

“The board of directors of Allied Newspapers Limited confirmed it has received the board of inquiry’s report and has been examining its findings. The board of directors said it is taking all appropriate action and will be reporting to the company’s shareholders at the forthcoming general meeting,” The Times reported.

When in March news broke of the offshore Panama companies set up by then energy minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia had in her hands information from the Panama Papers trove at the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists, that also showed that Adrian Hillman had set up his own offshore Panama company.

Caruana Galizia then alleged that Schembri, owner of the Kasco Group which supplied The Times with newsprint, had used his clout to influence its editorial in the run-up to the 2013 election – which Labour went on to win, and of which Schembri was its campaign manager.

The Allied board chose to set up an internal inquiry to also find whether Hillman – who resigned immediately – had taken bribes from Schembri at the time that Allied contracted Kasco to supply Progress Press with state-of-the-art printing machinery.

Both Hillman and Schembri have denied the allegations.

The board of inquiry includes lawyer Kevin Dingli, former Deloitte chief executive Paul Mercieca, and PricewaterhouseCooopers senior partner Kevin Valenzia.

More in National