|Public by COSIMO|
JOSETTE SCHEMBRI VELLA, the wife of Keith Schembri, the former Chief of Staff to disgraced ex-prime Minister Joseph Muscat, was arrested today on charges of money laundering and other unspecified financial crime offences.There was testimony in court regarding allegedly suspicious transactions, in the millions of Euros, at companies linked to her, including 3 CITY DESIGNS.
Her husband, who is believed to be terminally ill at home, himself is facing charges of money laundering, fraud, conspiracy and forgery. He allegedly received millions in kickbacks and bribes whilst chief on Staff of Staff to Muscat, who is himself the primary suspect for hundreds of Euros in bribes received during his seven year tenancy as PM. He has not only been linked to the Daphne assassination, but is known to be the "bagman" or intermediary between individuals and companies transmitting bribes, and Joseph Muscat, the alleged intended recipient. Some Malta legal observers believe he diverted some of the millions intended to Muscat to his own accounts in foreign tax havens.
|Private by COSIMO|
Most observers of Maltese politics believe that her arrest is part of a knee-jerk reaction to the FATF Greylisting of Malta, but caution that arrests of prominent PEPs generally do not result in trials and convictions in Malta's notoriously corrupt court system. the intentionally dilatory Compilation of evidence phase is drawn out for years, until the public tires of the case. Since Daphne Pointed out that KS traveled frequently to Switzerland, it is believed that he transferred bribe money he received abroad, but its current locations are unknown.
Charging Mrs. Schembri, who probably has control over her husband's offshore accounts, is a typical law enforcement tactic.She vould be forced to transfer over those illicit funds, as part of a plea agreement, or she might even be inclined to testify against Joseph Muscat, in an effort to mitigate her sentence.
|Frozen Moment by COSIMO|
Given the initial state of unpreparedness of government prosecutors, it is likely that orders came down to the police from the current prime minister, Robert Abela, to show enforcement against known money launderers, in an effort to please FATF auditors, and to show strength in advance of the November general elections,meaning that it was for a purely political purpose. Extensive local press coverage confirms its political nature.
|Peel Back the Layer by COSIMO|