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MALTATODAY 24 July 2022

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 24 JULY 2022 NEWS Drugs chase: no bail for Azzopardi LUKE VELLA DRUG baron Jordan Azzopardi has been accused of trafficking 130g of cocaine which he dis- posed during a police car chase on Friday. Azzopardi, formerly out on bail after being accused of run- ning a secret drugs 'factory' in Wardija, was arrested by police in Madliena on Friday after- noon. In a Saturday arraignment be- fore Magistrate Lara Lanfranco, Inspector Alfredo Mangion said that on Friday police received information that Azzopardi was involved in drug trafficking ac- tivity. Police intercepted Azzopar- di driving a BMW X3 in the direction of Għargħur. Two police cars managed to block Azzopardi's vehicle, when he reversed the car and drove to the other side of the road, hit- ting two vehicles, including one where a woman was driving with her kids. According to the prosecution, Azzopardi was seen throwing a bag out of the car, as the police chased him further down the road. Eventually police man- aged to get Azzopardi to stop. Police managed to retrieve the bag later on, found to contain 130g of suspected cocaine. A search was carried out at Azz- opardi's residence in Madliena. Azzopardi pleaded not guilty to the charges and the defence did not request bail at this stage. The court accepted the pros- ecution's request for the freez- ing of Azzopardi's assets. The defence objected, saying that through a recent order, the ac- cused's assets were already hit by a freezing order. Lawyers Franco Debono, Charles Mercieca, Marion Camilleri and Robert Montalto appeared for the accused. Azzopardi was detained along with his girlfriend in March 2019, following police raids on his properties used for drug trafficking. He stands charged with drug trafficking, criminal conspiracy, money laundering, circulation of counterfeit cash, possession of an unlicensed weapon, threatening and injur- ing a third party and breaching previous bail conditions. But Azzopardi was grant- ed bail in 2021, his conditions including signing a bail book every day, observing a curfew and other conditions. It was secured by a €150,000 personal guarantee. A third-party guar- antor was also required to pro- vide a €50,000 guarantee which would also be forfeited if Azz- opardi breached his bail condi- tions. Back behind bars: Jordan Azzopardi CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The Degiorgios understand that a lengthy 35-year prison sentence, effectively 'life' for them, would not require them to collaborate on any of the major crimes they have been implicated in as well as other unsolved murders connected to the Maltese gangland they inhabited. On their part, the Degiorgi- os are said to be requesting a maximum of 25 years in return for collaboration on their part. They have already spent four and a half years in preventive custody since their arrest. The discussions have been exploring the possibility of a reduced sentence in return for testimony identifying those who commissioned the Caru- ana Galizia assassination, and were recently thrust into the spotlight again when George Degiorgio went public with his offer. "We want a judgment upon admission in the trial of Caru- ana Galizia's murder, which judgment is in line with that already handed down to Vin- cent Muscat. We are willing to divulge everything we know about other murders, bombs and crimes provided we re- ceive a pardon. We emphasise that the families of other vic- tims should be served justice too," William Cuschieri, the Degiorgios' lawyer, had told the MaltaToday earlier this month. It was specified that the brothers were also willing to say everything they knew about and name all of the oth- ers involved in the Daphne murder conspiracy. Those comments were a re- action to Reuter's publication of an interview conducted with George Degiorgio, in which Degiorgio stated that he would plead guilty ahead of any trial by jury in the Caruana Galizia case and indicated willing- ness to provide testimony that would implicate the other peo- ple involved in Caruana Gali- zia's murder, as well as a pre- vious unrealised plot to kill the journalist. The other co-accused, Vin- cent Muscat, known as il- Koħħu, admitted to his part in the murder, and was sen- tenced to 15 years in prison. Muscat admitted to the wilful homicide of Caruana Galizia, causing the explosion which led to the death of a person, illegal possession of explo- sives, conspiracy to carry out a crime, promotion of a group intending to carry out criminal acts and participation in such a group. Muscat, George Degiorgio and his brother Alfred Degior- gio, were accused of procuring, planting and detonating the bomb that killed Caruana Gal- izia in October 2017. Degiorgios try to leverage crime secrets for short jail sentence Gaddafi widow appeals court decision ordering BOV to disburse €96 million to Libyan State MATTHEW VELLA THE widow of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has appealed a decision by a Malta court ordering Bank of Valletta to return to Libya over €96 mil- lion deposited by Gaddafi's late son Mutassim. Safiya Ferkash Mohammed and her lawyers argue in their appeal that the courts lacked ju- risdiction and could not decide the case over the funds. Over €96 million in money held by Bank of Valletta by the heirs of the late son of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, were ordered for disbursement in favour of the Libyan state, as a six-year case finally wraps up with a decision in favour of the plaintiff, the Libyan Attorney General. Gaddafi's millions were his- torically managed by the former Labour Party treasurer Joe Sam- mut, an accountant who had been facing proceedings in court for creating companies with false stock to secure residence permits for Libyan businessmen in Malta. The cash funded Muatassim Gaddafi's playboy lifestyle, with millions held in his vari- ous American Express and Visa credit card accounts. The three accounts at Bank of Valletta were held in the name of Capital Resources, a compa- ny owned by Gaddafi but whose name appeared as Muatasim- bllah Muammar Abuminyar. Muatassim, 36, died in the Lib- yan desert, bearded and in his last gasps on a hospital bed, with a gaping wound in his throat on 20 October, 2011 after being captured at the fall of Sirte. Safia Farkash Gaddafi now lives in Oman with sons Hanni- bal and Mohammad, and daugh- ter Aisha.

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