Adrian Hillman, the former managing director of Allied Newspapers, has been granted bail over charges related to money laundering and fraud.
Hillman has been granted bail with the court imposing a freezing order on his assets and the assets of two of his companies.
Hillman was granted bail against a €50,000 deposit and a personal guarantee of €100,000. The costs have been covered by his parents and sister.
Hillman will still earn an annual salary of 13,000 euros. He will reside at his sister’s residence in Swieqi. He will be placed under curfew from 10pm to 7am every day. He will be required to sign a bail book every day.
Hillman did not answer questions while under interrogation and pleaded not guilty. Charges were also brought forward against his companies – Network Overseas Ltd and Lester Holdings Ltd and concern a period from 2005 and 2019. Hillman told the court that he was unsure of the companies’ registered addresses.
Local authorities had launched an extradition request for Hillman in March. When they tried to first make contact with him on 7th March, his sister informed police that he had emigrated to the UK.
A police inspector told the court that Hillman said he moved to the UK because his wife had been granted fellowship in the country and his children found it difficult to communicate in Maltese.
According to the prosecution, Hillman moved to the UK even though he knew he was under investigation in Malta.
The court heard how, for eight months, Hillman knew that police were searching for him but he did not get in touch. Hillman was also denied bail in the UK.
The prosecution, who objected to bail, said there were fears that Hillman could abscond and tamper with evidence with officials yet to testify.
Hillman’s lawyer Stefano Filetti disagreed – insisting that his client had not tried to escape Malta.
“If he was trying to flee, why would he go to the UK?” he said.
Hillman voluntarily handed himself over to police in the UK, renounced his rights and gave his consent to face prosecution in Malta. Four officers accompanied Hillman from Heathrow, who informed him about the charges faced.
The prosecution also made a request to freeze his assets.
Hillman’s father, Colin Hillman, also testified and told the court that he willing to act as a guarantee for his son.
He also said he was willing to go to prison if his son did not respect bail conditions, adding that he would cover any bail deposits his son could not afford.
Hillman’s mother, Eileen, also took the stand, claiming she would also act as a guarantee for her son. His sister gave similar testimony.
Thie case related to a leaked Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit report found that former chief of staff Keith Schembri had channelled over €650,000 to Hillman in suspicious payments between 2011 and 2015 in a deal which saw his company, Kasco, supply a printing press to Times of Malta in 2018.
It is believed that the funds were transferred via a number of offshore companies and accounts based in Gibraltar and Switzerland, as well as the infamous Pilatus Bank.
Hillman was extradited back to Malta through a UK-EU surrender agreement. It replaced the European Arrest Warrants in place while the UK was part of the EU and functions very similar to it.
Police have prosecuted 11 people so far in relation to these charges, including Schembri and Nexia BT partners Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, on 20th March.
Tag someone who needs to know this