Six companies owned by former OPM Chief-Of-Staff Keith Schembri have filed a court request to temporarily unfreeze their assets to pay salaries of some 100 employees.
On Monday, assets of Keith Schembri, as well as over 100 companies, individuals and even young children were frozen. Schembri was arrested over money-laundering allegations involving kickbacks from the investment-for-citizenship scheme launched under former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Schembri, as well as Brian Tonna and Karl Cini of Nexia BT, also allegedly involved in the financial crime, have since been released on police bail.
The court application was signed by Schembri’s lawyers Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo, who warned that the freezing order means that some 100 full-time employees did not receive their monthly salaries last Tuesday.
They denounced the order as “catastrophic, not only on the person it was addressed to but intended for, but also on third parties who had nothing to do with the investigation other than the fulfilling of their duties as employees who were giving their time to earn their daily bread.”
Schembri’s lawyers questioned whether this action was in line with the conclusions of the magisterial inquiry on the alleged illicit profits garnered through the passport scheme.
“Before these conclusions are made public, we are not going to participate in the interrogation process,” lawyer Edward Gatt previously said.
According to Times of Malta‘s report, Schembri was actually also “given disclosure of evidence” before being released, meaning he was given access to the conclusions of a magisterial inquiry into the alleged money laundering. The inquiry was concluded earlier this month.
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