15 arrested in money laundering operation

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A total of 15 individuals have been arrested in a money-laundering operation following months of intensive investigations by the Anti-Money Laundering Section within the Financial Crime Investigations Department, the police said on Thursday.

During the operation, the police seized 36 vehicles, €60,000 in cash, a considerable amount of jewellery and designer clothes, electronic equipment which include among others, mobile phones, computers and servers and a large amount of documents, which are still being analysed.

Five individuals have already been charged in court. These are former footballers Darren Debono and Jeffrey Chetcuti, Gordon Debono and his wife Yvette, as well as stevedore Shawn Higgins.

The police said that 15 legal persons were also charged in court with money laundering offences.

The Court also ordered the freezing of their assets of both natural and legal persons.

The police said that the investigations are being coordinated with foreign partners, including Europol, US, Italian and British counterparts.

Court lifts an order banning the publication of the names of some of the accused

A court has lifted an order banning the publication of the names of two former footballers charged with money laundering following an anti-smuggling operation.

On Tuesday, Times of Malta revealed that Darren Debono and Jeffrey Chetcuti were remanded in custody as part of an investigation into fuel smuggling.

The following day, the court banned the publication of their names and any details on the crimes they were accused of.

The order was revoked on Thursday following a request from the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner. The AG and the police pleaded that they had asked for the ban on publication since there were more arrests to be made which were “crucial for the investigation”. Following the arraignments on Wednesday such ban was no longer necessary.