Josette Keith

Josette Schembri Vella, wife of former chief of staff Keith Schembri, on Friday was charged with money laundering in relation to her company, 3 City Designs.

The flagged offences deal with transactions linked to the company that were carried out between 2008 and 2020.

The prosecuting inspector, Leanne Bonello, said the charges in question, which are being treated with suspicion, amount to around €1.5 million.

Both the company and Ms Schembri Vella are accused of converting/transferring property when they were aware it was directly or indirectly acquired through criminal activity.

She is also acccused of having failed to ensure 3 City Designs met its obligations at law, which her lawyer says amounts to Ms Schembri Vella failing to call board meetings, according to a Times of Malta report.

At the end of the hearing, the court agreed to give bail to Ms Vella Schembri against a deposit of €10,000 and a personal guarantee of €40,000. 

Earlier

Josette Schembri will be charged with money laundering on Friday afternoon.

The development is significant as the spouse of embattled former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, who has himself been charged with corruption and money laundering. He has also been linked to the brutal assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017.

A police statement released on Friday confirmed that a 45-year-old woman from Mellieha, as well as a company, will be charged before Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit at 1.30pm. Police confirmed she will be charged with money laundering, as well as other charges.

National media however heavily cite sources who state that the woman in question is Ms Schembri Vella.

Times of Malta in particular report that Ms Schembri Vella has been questioned by the police’s financial crimes unit over recent days as part of a money-laundering investigation.

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