Abuse of ID system: 11 Italians registered as ‘living’ with Darren Debono

The Italians claim to be fishermen or sailors, in line with Darren Debono’s ‘official’ line of work, despite facing money laundering charges.   


Darren Debono, the former international footballer, currently facing money laundering charges, among other alleged crimes, is ‘living’ with some 11 Italians, mostly Sicilians from Catania, at his residence in San Gwann, according to information publicly available in the electoral register.

Research conducted by The Shift shows that apart from Debono, his partner and two siblings, another 10 men and a woman declared Debono’s home as their registered place of permanent residence.

According to the latest electoral register, Debono’s household comprises a total of 15 occupants. These include persons with many different surnames such as Cannarella, Lonzafame, Leopori, Sciuto and Tarda.

Further research shows that like Debono, who declares his main occupation as a fisherman, almost all the other individuals ‘living’ with him are related to the maritime industry, declaring that they are either fishermen or sailors.

The residence marked in red is registered as hosting 15 people.

As doubts are raised over the veracity of the sworn declarations made by these ‘residents’ when issued with a valid identity document, government sources told The Shift that these incidents expose the lack of checks and balances made by Identity Malta.

The sources told The Shift that the Darren Debono case is not unique as there are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar cases across the island.

“During the past years, the Maltese authorities have lowered their guard significantly and have let thousands of foreigners come to live on the island, both legally and illegally. This was unwritten government policy,” a senior official said.

“There are thousands of ‘false’ ID cards as whoever declares living in a particular address is not checked. No proof of residence is required, and anyone can invent an address. There are hundreds even registered on garages,” the official said.

Applicants for ID cards must sign a declaration that the information they give to the authorities is true. Yet this is never verified.

Malta’s ID card system is tied to the electoral register, which is used to issue voting documents during elections. Most of the foreigners issued with an ID card are not eligible to vote as they aren’t Maltese citizens.

This does not apply to those who buy a Maltese passport through the controversial cash-for-passport scheme.

Although most of the passport buyers would have never spent more than a day on the island, they are still issued with a voting document in the general elections.

Darren Debono and his stepdaughter, Floren Sultana, are being accused of a multi-million money laundering operation from proceeds related to an international racket involved in fuel smuggling.

According to the police, Debono was allegedly laundering dirty cash through various legitimate business operations, including several fish restaurants he owned.

Porticello restaurant in Valletta was one of the restaurants Darren Debono owned and continued to operate through third parties after his arrest.

In the past, Debono was arrested as part of international police operations and has also spent time in jail in Sicily.

The Italian authorities had accused the Maltese government of not collaborating on international probes on oil smuggling, particularly during the war in Libya. The Maltese government denies these claims.

Featured image credit: Francesco Bellina.


Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Simon Oosterman
Simon Oosterman
1 year ago

“The Maltese government denies these claims” but offers no proof nor an explanation for why the Italians would make such claims if they are unfounded.

1 year ago
Reply to  Mandy Mallia

I don’t get our obsession with the Maltese IIP program, and I don’t get the hypocrisy of MEP’s like Ana Gomez from Portugal. In Portugal you can acquire citizenship with a minimal property investment which is refundable after 5 years and with an obligation to spend no more than 1 week a year in Portugal… making it by far the cheapest and least onerous citizenship program in the world for Chinese, Russians, Iranians, etc….

Tony borg
Tony borg
1 year ago

The institutions are working…..Bobby keeps telling us….and yet more has been uncovered by journalists than the police corp with the thousands of police officers the have at their disposal.


1 year ago

We have to keep our eyes wide open during election as God only knows what’s going on and I’m sure that the muvument KORROTT will do anything to win the election; with the amount of scandals another scandal (voting irregularities) will be very normal for the KORROTTI.

Peter Vella
Peter Vella
1 year ago

Now I fully understand the PM’s statement when he says that the institutions are working, ……and in overdrive..

1 year ago

Probably they are also counted as members of the same household when Water and Electricity bills are issued, resulting in much lower bills.

Arms should investigate as it may be they/we are being ripped off!

Related Stories

Lawless roads and random lead
The Canadian government has enraged the ‘go back to
Freeport’s owner wins Freeport tender after last minute changes
Foul play is being suspected over the award of

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo