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8 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 8 MAY 2022 NEWS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The extradited supermarket boss Ryan Schembri sold his chain of six supermarkets to Casha for just €94,000 in May 2014. Casha and other asso- ciates of his, including sever- al investors, appear to have been creditors for €5.7 million loaned to Schembri's opera- tion before the supermarket crashed that same year. But after the More share transfer to Casha, Ryan Schem- bri and Adrian Agius – who were retained as directors of More's Hamrun outlet – cre- ated a constitution of debt with two men for €3.5 million in June 2014, unbeknownst to Casha. Casha only found out about the 'new' debt in October 2014, when Schembri fled the island. Although Casha acquired the entire chain of six More super- market outlets, he assumed the directorship of five outlets but not that of the most lucrative of operations, the Hamrun store in the Daniels mall. Instead, the directors of that store were left in place, namely Schembri, Adrian Agius, Chris Delia and Kurt Camilleri. "It was the start of summer and I was only just getting the hang of the business, with a new store about to open," Ca- sha claimed in his affidavit. "I planned to keep the old direc- tors in Hamrun so that they help me out, so that I get a proper handover as indeed I did from Camilleri and Delia particularly." Mystery investor In his own affidavit, Farrugia said he had travelled to Libya with Ryan Schembri to discuss how to expand his own textile retail together with More's ex- pansion in the war-torn coun- try, particularly at the Palm City complex in Jumeirah, out- side Tripoli. It was during one of these visits that Farrugia, while attending a construction fair together with Schembri, met an Indian entrepreneur named Abdul Rahman. Farrugia said that six months prior to the 2012 opening of More's outlet in the Daniels shopping complex in Hamrun, he had assisted Schembri on various aspects of the business and pricing. That year, Farrugia says he and Schembri travelled to the Sial food business fair in Paris together with Darren Casha. "Schembri wanted me to assist him in the sale of meats... this is where Casha entered the pic- ture. I learnt he was Schembri's partner in Sorriso, which sells meat." Sorriso Foods was a trade- mark owned by a Libyan com- pany, Copacabana Investments Group, represented by Liby- an national Mohammed Em- hemmed, a trader of meats and fish products. According to an agreement presented in court, Copacabana appointed Cassar & Schembri Marketing as its agent for a €8.4 million financing deal that included Darren Casha as a guarantor, with shares in Cassar & Schem- bri pledged in his name should the company fail to repay its financing. Additionally, Adrian Zammit of AZ Investments had also forwarded the company €2.2 million in loans. Farrugia then said that in 2013, Schembri approached him to source a €1 million in- never handled the money, nor did he have any written agree- ment with said Rahman, or a power-of-attorney from Rah- man to appear on a constitu- tion of debt with Schembri. According to Farrugia's af- fidavit, Rahman's investment stayed with More Supermar- ket's parent company, Cassar & Schembri Marketing – a claim he could not verify – and that at some point, Schembri tried to rope in Farrugia as a shareholder to protect the in- vestment. Farrugia claims he refused, insisting on loan notes for the investment. But even at this point, the enigmatic Rah- man had accepted to advance another €500,000 to Schembri. Strangely, it was not Rahman who was angling for the share- holding in More Supermarkets, as Casha's lawyer pointed out in his cross-examination of Farrugia. Neither has he ap- peared as a witness in the case. Croatian ruse Supermarket debts case shines light on 'secret' investors who poured millions in More "They did come to speak to Ryan about the money but I never gave it much notice. I just kept myself busy with the laptop (Ifhimni, għaddast rasi fil- laptop tiegħi)... I trusted Ryan blindly. My fault." Ryan Schembri, left, under arrest after being extradited from Scotland after seven years on the run. Top: Adrian Agius was a director of the More Supermarkets outlet in Hamrun, with Schembri. Together they signed a constitution of debt for two claimants for a total of €3.5 million A court case in which one of More Supermarkets' chief creditors is fending off a €3.5 million claim shines a light on a business whose investors were hidden before the supermarket's crash

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