Debono used false certificates and Maltese notary’s signature to gain ministry stamp – News Summed Up
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November 13, 2017 06:22 UTC
The 284-page ‘Dirty Oil’ dossier shows Debono was using falsified certificates of origin for smuggled Libyan oil to obtain a foreign ministry apostille so that his ships could offload their fuel in Italian portsItalian press reports alleging the connivance of a ministry official in the fuel smuggling ring led by former Malta footballer Darren Debono, appear contradicted by the investigators’ dossier on Operation Dirty Oil. The foreign ministry has launched an inquiry led by three permanent secretaries into allegations by financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, suggesting a civil servant abetted Debono’s fuel smuggling ring.
But the 284-page ‘Dirty Oil’ dossier paints a different picture, showing Debono was using falsified certificates of origin for smuggled Libyan oil to obtain a foreign ministry apostille – a certification of the documents – so that his ships could offload their fuel in Italian ports. Debono’s fuel smuggling ring was dealt an important blow in 2016 when the United Nations publicised the trafficking of fuel out of Libya by smuggling kingpin Fahmi Ben Khalifa – Debono’s business partner. The operation included another Maltese national, Gordon Debono, who used his Maltese company Petroplus to issue false certificates of origin to conceal the Libyan fuel as hailing from Saudi Arabia.Both Darren and Gordon Debono are under arrest in Sicily following the crackdown on the €30 million smuggling operation.
But Darren Debono also required certification from the Maltese Chamber of Commerce to validate these documents, a condition for the oil to be offloaded inside an Italian port. For two years before the UN report, the ‘Saudi’ transhipments were being unknowingly certified by the Chamber’s services.
Well it’s urgent, and…”“Ehhh I know, it’s too urgent and I can imagine the pressure for the Tiuboda [cargo ship], the crew, on you, on me…”“Ok…”“I have no alternative… it so happens this woman of 55 years who has been working here for 30 years is saying: ‘aaaah, I command here, I do this because only I can sign’… and that ‘not even the minister tells me what to sign’…”Then in another telephone call, although the intercepted conversation is not published, the investigators say that Debono “showed himself optimistic for a resolution in the diatribe with the Maltese office, thanks to possible connivance with people close to the economy ministry. ”In the meantime, the smuggling ring’s Italian partner – Mafia associate Nicola Orazio Romeo – was suggesting obtaining certification from the Catanese chamber of commerce to bypass the stumbling block in Malta. On the 9 June, new interceptions revealed that a new consignment of 50,000 tonnes of Libyan oil was being transported to Augusta and Civitavecchia ports. This time around, Debono had procured the signature of Maltese notary Anton Borg for the certificates of origin of the fuel, to show it hailed from the Azzawija Oil Refining Company, a subsidiary of the Libyan national oil company.
November 13, 2017 06:22 UTC
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