Allied Newspapers has sent us the following Right of Reply to the article entitled ‘Internal Probe Never Investigated the Millions in Property Deals Negotiated by Hillman’.
We would like to point out that The Shift sent a list of questions to the Managing Director prior to the article’s publication. The only reply we received was: “Further to your email of yesterday, kindly note that all decisions regarding the sale of company property were taken by the company’s board of directors and every contract of sale was carried out through a public deed, so all the information is basically in the public domain.” This was duly reported.
The Right of Reply received from Allied Newspapers two weeks after the publication of our article:
The article referred to the 2015 Deed of Sale, not to the 2014 Promise of Sale mentioned by Allied Newspapers in their Right of Reply. Moreover, the shareholders of Turning Point Investments are also shareholders in Castille Investments. The promise of sale signed in 2014 would have ‘locked in the price’ so mentioning a transfer date of 2018 is irrelevant.
Neither do we “give the impression” that the sale of Strickland House took place while Adrian Hillman was Managing Director, or that Allied Newspapers knew about A2Z Consulta (in fact we clearly say it was revealed by the Panama Papers that were published after the sale of Canberra House).
The valuations on Canberra House in the article are based on experts consulted because we sought an objective assessment.
While the Right of Reply states that the dealings took place behind the backs of the board of directors, the only answer we got to a list of questions sent to Allied Newspapers Managing Director stated that “all decisions regarding the sale of company property were taken by the company’s board of directors”.
While it may suit Allied Group’s current predicament to cite the law to “defend its reputation”, we would like to point out that a Right of Reply exists to correct inaccurate facts not to attempt to discredit other news organisations by inferring things never said, and especially when Allied Group has repeatedly refused to answer questions that are in the public interest only to then impose its version by invoking the law.
The Shift is publishing the Right of Reply because we believe in respect for the law but we stand by our story and have no problem defending it should Allied Newspapers choose to pursue its “rights at law to take any action deemed necessary to safeguard its reputation”, though we believe their time would be better spent focusing on the damage done to The Times of Malta by its own management.