Keith Schembri is back in business

A few days ago, Keith Schembri, the chief of staff of disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, quietly updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect his position as CEO of Kasco Holdings, a company in which he is also the majority shareholder, sending out the message that Schembri is back in business.

Schembri is facing charges for money laundering and fraud in relation to the Allied Newspapers scandal, he is the subject of investigation in further inquiries and his name has been repeatedly dropped in investigations related to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

There has also been a flurry of recent annual return filings at the Malta Business Registry (MBR) from four companies under the umbrella of Kasco Group, all handed in between 18 February and 4 April of this year.

While the annual returns of the Kasco group of companies have been filed, the accounts detailing the financial status of the company  – to be audited and filed at the MBR every year according to law – have not been filed since 2018.

Additionally, Schembri was seen entering the court in April, although the lack of online documentation related to criminal court cases makes it difficult to determine why.

The most recent news from court largely relates to a request for Schembri’s phone data from the lawyers of Yorgen Fenech, the businessman who stands accused of commissioning Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

In those constitutional court proceedings, Fenech’s lawyers are claiming that their client’s right to a fair hearing is being breached given that they do not have evidence from Schembri’s phone which they state is essential to prove Fenech’s claims of innocence.

Schembri’s drive to remain in charge of his business empire even while facing court proceedings on money laundering and fraud was already highlighted by The Shift in May 2021 when administrators from Deloitte quit with sources citing how the administrators were essentially being used to rubber-stamp decisions Schembri had already taken.

A screenshot of a LinkedIn notification indicating Schembri has recently updated his profile.

The inquiries

Schembri was subjected to three magisterial inquiries. Two of those inquiries have been concluded, and have led to arraignments and charges linked with financial crime.

One is the inquiry related to two €50,000 payments from Nexia BT accountant Brian Tonna through Pilatus Bank to Schembri and the other detailed how Schembri passed on over €650,000 in backhanders to former Allied Newspapers managing director Adrian Hillman in the major deal signed with Progress Press, a company linked with Allied Newspapers, publishers of The Times of Malta.

Hillman is expected back in court in May following the latest court hearing in which directors from Allied Newspapers claimed that Hillman had not provided any explanation to them about the payments he had received from Schembri’s offshore companies.

Another pending investigation remains – the magisterial inquiry into the Panama Papers scandal, involving Schembri, disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi and Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, which has not yet been concluded.

There is another link in the chain of corruption scandals associated with the administration in which Schembri was involved.  The magisterial inquiry investigating the hospitals’ concession has seemingly turned its attention on Muscat following reports that outlined how the disgraced former prime minister had received at least €60,000 in tranches of payments from a company, Accutor AG, that had received millions from Steward Healthcare, the current concessionaire.

Matthew Caruana Galizia had further claimed that Muscat was not just paid €60,000 but had actually gotten a contract worth €540,000, with a €15,000 monthly payment for a minimum of 36 months. Muscat had not denied Caruana Galizia’s claims, stating only that the agreement was terminated during the COVID-19 pandemic and that both sides had the option of terminating it at any point.

While Schembri is not a subject person in the ongoing magisterial inquiry looking into the hospitals’ concession, a report authored by the National Audit Office pointed to Schembri’s involvement in the secretive negotiations that led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the original concessionaires, Vitals Global Healthcare.

                           
                               
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Francis Said
Francis Said
21 days ago

Business as usual, irrespective of the Court proceedings. An excellent example to the honest businessman. It also must be noted that his wife is also implicated in corrupt practices.

James
James
21 days ago

Why did you forget to mention the US State Department press release of December 22nd 2021 in which it confirmed that Schembri and his family members along with Konrad Mizzi and his family members were now going to be refused entry into the USA because of the “ credible information “ in their possession that both Schembri and Mizzi had taken bribes and backhanders in the Electrogas scandal?

Life for the “ untouchables “ just carries on as if nothing has changed.

Which, of course, it hasn’t.

viv
viv
21 days ago

Mattresses back in storage?

makjavel
makjavel
20 days ago

So no excuses that he is in hospital under medication.
The court is expected to proceed with the case, or as with the swan hunter the police will drop the case because it does not have any proof of anything.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
20 days ago

1. Should the FIAU and the Commissioner of Police, not be investigating the transactions carried out by Keith Schembri/Kasco Group, which Deloitte allegedly refused to endorse, and which may be the reason why Deloitte resigned as Administrators?
2. Did the Malta Business Registry, issue fine notices for failure to repeatedly file audited financial statements for the Kasco Group since 2018?
3. Did Deloitte issue an audited statement of financial transactions carried out during the period of administration?
4. Have the incumbent auditors of the group, issue a letter of engagement for the years 2018, 2019, and 2020?
5. Has the Commissioner for Revenue issued notices of penalties for failure by the Group to submit its annual tax declaration for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
6. Has the Group submitted its VAT returns for the period from 2018 to 2021?
7. Has the Commissioner for Revenue, imposed fines on the Group, for non-submission or late submission of VAT returns?
8. Has the Group submitted to the Commissioner for Revenue, the Social Security Contributions and Tax witheld from the remuneration of its employees?

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