Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri will head back to jail as magistrate lists concerns

Keith Schembri and other Kasco Group associates Malcolm Scerri and Robert Zammit have been denied bail by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech in court this morning.

The only individual to be granted bail among the four accused in the dock on Tuesday was Keith Schembri’s father, Alfio Schembri. He will have to put up a €20,000 deposit and €50,000 guarantee for bail.

He was instructed by the court to deposit his passport, ID card and driver’s licence with the court and told he must live at his Cospicua home and sign a bail book at the local police station daily.

All four have been charged with money laundering, criminal conspiracy, accountancy crimes and fraud in relation to a magisterial inquiry into graft between Keith Schembri and the management of Allied Newspapers and Progress Press. Keith Schembri faces additional charges of false testimony and forgery, while Zammit has also been charged with breaching accountancy obligations.

Adrian Hillman, named among the 11 accused, has still not been charged. The police are refusing to comment on whether he has returned to Malta to face charges.

The magistrate said that although the defence may be correct in arguing that they are innocent until proven guilty, the prosecution’s argument that Schembri had forged document does not provide the court with the “peace of mind” it needs. She also referred to the danger of interference with ongoing investigations because third parties who may be involved have not yet been identified or charged. She urged the police to conclude investigations.

Yesterday, Lawyer Elaine Mercieca Rizzo from the Attorney General’s office said there was an association not only between the accused but with other persons including auditors, financial companies and private individuals. “It’s very complex,” she said.

                           
                               
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