Impunity in a mafia state, for so it is

Impunity in a mafia state, for so it is

Adrian Hillman made the press today.

The Sunday Times reports “senior government officials recommended” his appointment to the Board of Trustees of the American University of Malta. The “recommendation”, for which read Keith Schembri exercising his political muscle and calling a favour from that white elephant on public land, materialised in Adrian Hillman’s appointment.

But that’s not quite enough of course. The Malta Independent on Sunday reports Adrian Hillman is lined up to run the Malta Gaming Authority.  It may be someone with a poor sense of humour flying a kite. Even so this is a significant suggestion particularly considering the gaming industry’s regulator is as we speak being criticised the world over for allowing the mafia to use the industry to launder its money.

Adrian Hillman is “alleged” to be a link in the money laundering chain connecting the prime minister, his chief of staff Keith Schembri, his favourite minister Konrad Mizzi, his accountants Brian Tonna and Karl Cini of Nexia BT, and Malcolm Scerri, who is a partner in business with the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.

“Alleged” because since the police failed to act on the published evidence, there could never be a conviction in a court of law. When Simon Busuttil exercised his right as a private citizen to ask the court to order an investigation, he got just the order he asked for. But the court’s order to the police to investigate was appealed. By Adrian Hillman and the rest of the gang. It is now rolling in the deep recesses of court procedure while the police and the politicians laugh it off.

Published documentary evidence shows that Adrian Hillman, when Managing Director of Allied Newspapers and Progress Press, received payments from Keith Schembri. These payments are subject to a magisterial inquiry.
In May 2017 Daphne Caruana Galizia published transaction reports of some of the payments from Keith Schembri to Adrian Hillman. Here they are again. Transaction list

Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote last May: “Schembri made these payments through a company called Malmos Ltd, incorporated in Gibraltar, his ultimate beneficial ownership of which is hidden behind nominees. To justify the payments made to him, Hillman raised fake invoices for “publishing consultancy”. The money was transferred to a client account for Hillman held by the financial services firm MFSP, which then used it to buy stocks and bonds for Hillman.”

This here. This is impunity. This is what the people who still wish to protect our country from the despicable label of “Mafia State” should be thinking about when they say it’s an exaggeration. The power and authority of the state – the office of the prime minister – are used to serve the interests of people at best reasonably suspected of crime on the one hand by preventing their prosecution and on the other by arranging for their access to public office from which to continue to pursue their self-interest.

And at the time where the viability of our gaming industry is in grave jeopardy; at a time when genuine critics and our competition accuse us of allowing the gaming industry to be used for the laundering of money: a person himself accused of money laundering, a person who is alleged to have sheltered and laundered money illicitly and under false pretence, is lined up to regulate that industry.

For the government to be briefing the press on Adrian Hillman’s rise to public office not two weeks after Daphne Caruana Galizia who revealed the illicit dealings between him and Keith Schembri was incinerated in a fireball, demonstrates a callousness, a blackness, a cruel ironic streak that, even now with all that is happening around us, digs an even deeper low.