Keith Schembri’s daughter is noticeably missing from a Maltese court’s order to freeze his assets, and those of more than 100 companies, his spouse, his business partners and other relatives.
On Monday, a court issued a freezing and garnishee order on all assets held by Schembri, as well as those of his accountants at Nexia BT, Brian Tonna and Karl Cini.
There was a long list of companies and names listed on the court order, which included several family members of those linked to the case, and even extended to a baby born in 2020, another in 2018, and another in 2017.
Only one of Schembri’s daughters is missing, the other is found on the document. Schembri’s daughter’s exclusion raises some questions over the court order, namely the reason why she was left out and whether she could be used to bypass the order.
“The asset freeze bizarrely missed one of Schembri’s daughters, which is strange because under Malta’s centralised identity system, police and AG have access to all family relationship data,” Matthew Caruana Galizia wrote.
The assets have been frozen over suspicion that Schembri and Tonna are guilty of money laundering. A magisterial inquiry into a passport kickbacks scheme between the two men was recently concluded. The Attorney General did not publish its conclusions.
According to a leaked report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), Tonna transferred two €50,000 payments through Pilatus Bank to Schembri.
Schembri is facing allegations that the payments were kickbacks related to the sale of Maltese citizenship to a family of three Russian nationals.
Both men have denied any wrongdoing, with Schembri claiming that the €100,000 was the repayment of a personal loan given to Tonna while the former underwent separation proceedings.
The loan was repaid through Willerby Trading, a British Virgin Islands shell company secretly owned by Tonna. Willerby Trading is named in the court order.
The same FIAU report also raised suspicions of the loan document presented to the bank to justify the payments after finding no trace of the original loan payment by Schembri to Tonna.
The court’s decision comes just a matter of days after Times of Malta revealed Nexia BT would be hiving off much of its operations to another company.
What do you think of the exclusion of Schembri’s daughter? Comment below