Malta’s impunity for dirty oil traders

Darren Debono

The biggest story in my latest book “A Rent-Seeker’s Paradise” was how dirty oil trader Darren Debono became the biggest trader of contraband Libyan oil after the previous players in this illegal industry, were pushed out of the business by a coordinated police operation. Darren Debono was abetted and supported by Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat as his illegal business grew exponentially and was also the trusted oil trader contacted by Keith Schembri to refuel the Admiral Kuznetsov as it passed by Malta, which he allegedly did with one of his ships called “Ruta”. Darren Debono has denied all of this.

Darren Debono’s activity in the illegal oil trade was well known, but what wasn’t known previously was the involvement of the direct involvement of the Joseph Muscat cabal in the industry through their support for Darren Debono and the refuelling of the Russian warship. I also explained in my story how Emmanuel Mallia was also involved in this illegal industry mainly through Darren Debono’s competitors and as Minister of the Interior ensured they laundered their illegal proceeds without any repercussions. Today, Emmanuel Mallia is Malta’s ambassador to the UK.

Investigations on the Maltese players in the illegal Libyan oil contraband industry have so far been mainly conducted by foreign authorities. Darren Debono was only arrested when the Italian police caught up with him on rumours he had been selling oil to the Italian military. Darren Debono was very later on charged with money laundering in the Maltese courts along with some of his relatives and associates. Now, the Swiss will authorities will investigate the Swiss oil bunkerer, Kolmar which operated and serviced Darren Debono in Malta.

Here in Malta, the prosecution against Darren Debono seems to be intentionally cut short of all the information and data it needs for an effective result. The prosecutor has admitted that they didn’t even interrogate the traders on the other end of Darren Debono’s transactions. Darren Debono can easily walk free from the Maltese courts due to an ineffective prosecution, and that would be the best possible outcome for the Maltese politicians involved in this industry. There is a lot at stake if Darren Debono is found guilty and this will not be in the interest of previous officials and politicians like Emmanuel Mallia and Keith Schembri. Local authorities began moving against Darren Debono only after the Italian authorities made their first move and after Joseph Muscat left office. And, indeed, Darren Debono is one of the first-ever big criminal names being prosecuted in Maltese history with charges of money laundering after having run a multi-million Euro illegal business. One would expect the police to take Darren Debono’s investigation and the involvement of politicians in the illegal oil industry much more seriously.


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