27 Oct 2020
An accountancy firm that provided corporate services to one of the companies implicating in the Operation Dirty Oil fuel smuggling ring, has been fined €58,900 by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
The clients included ADJ Trading, a company implicated in the €30 million Libyan fuel smuggling ring, that was controlled by former national team footballer Darren Debono, the Libyan smuggler kingpin Fahmi Slim Ben Khalifa and Egyptian national Ahmed Ibra-him Hassan Arafa.
Baldacchino also audited Oceano Blu Trading, a company that used to be controlled by Italian national Nicola Orazio Romeo, who was also implicated in the ring. Romeo was registered at the same home address as Darren Debono.
The Times reported that corporate records since deleted as part of a new policy by the Malta Business Registry to erase documents from online searches of companies struck off, show Chris Baldacchino & Associates offered corporate services to ADJ Trading.
Chris Baldacchino & Associates was fined for lax anti-money laundering controls that could have “possibly led the firm to be used and abused by money-launderers to bypass checks that would otherwise have been carried out”, the FIAU said in a notice on its website.
By Matthew Vella, Malta Today, 27 October 2020
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