Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore reports that Catanese Guardia di Finanza believes a Maltese foreign office official has falsified certificates of origin to allow diesel from Libya to be illegally inserted in the Italian and European fuel market.

The newspaper owned by the Italian federation of employers reports that “a network of friendships in the highest levels of Malta’s foreign Ministry has allowed the illegal trafficking of diesel from Libya to Italy where the ‘fuel would be nationalised in the harbours of Venezia Porto Marghera, Augusta and Civitavecchia’. The major scam that has ‘polluted’ the Italian and European diesel markets, is now being investigated by the Catania tax police. The investigations appear to confirm corruption in Maltese politics, as revealed in the investigations of killed blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia”.

The report says “investigations have shed light on a network of illicit documentation manufactured with the intent of allowing diesel trafficking. Investigations on this front have revealed contacts between influential personalities in the Foreign Ministry. Indeed, on at least one occasion, one of the main suspects, Maltese Darren Debono, turns out to have been at a meeting in the Ministry on 29 June 2016. On a call of 3 June 2016, Debono speaks with his Italian contact at Maxcom, Marco Porta. He explains that he is within the Ministry with a senior official: ‘There’s a 55-year-old woman who has worked in the Ministry for 30 years and she’s saying: ‘I give the orders, I do this because only I can sign’ … not even the Minister tells me first to sign but all was ok’. Investigators believe the reference is to documentation the senior official had to prepare”.

Investigators have reconstructed the event: it concerns two acts bearing the heading “Legalisation Officer” of the Maltese Foreign Office, signed K.M., used to “legalise” the certificates of the origin of the diesel. According to the tax police “this complex scam in the documentation proves the considerable capacity of the criminal group to produce, from time to time, false documents exploiting the network of accomplices Darren Debono has in Malta. This criminal behaviour was enabled by the active co-operation of the Maltese official that officially made legal a document used in commercial operations for customs purposes.

Read the full report in the original Italian here.