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MT 18 September 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2016 13 News GourmetToday every Saturday 16.05pm on TVM CONTINUED FORM PAGE 1 "I find it strange that a statement was is- sued now, when another meeting is scheduled for next week," Hill- man's lawyer said, referring to Al- lied Newspaper's statement that the report had been finalised. The Hillman inquiry was prompted after allegations made by Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia – who at the time was in possession of Panama Papers documentation released by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists – that Keith Schem- bri, today the Prime Minister's chief of staff, had paid kickbacks to Hillman and influenced The Times's coverage of the 2013 elec- tion. Neither Hillman nor Schem- bri appeared before the board of inquiry, which included lawyer Kevin Dingli, former Deloitte chief executive Paul Mercieca, and PricewaterhouseCooopers senior partner Kevin Valenzia. The newspaper understands that none of the allegations were for- warded to the police. Offshore allegations The allegations instantly led to an internal inquiry set up by Al- lied, and immediately prompted Hillman's resignation. From documentation released after the inquiry was set up, the allegations appear to have been borne from the fact that both Hillman and Schembri – whose company Kasco was a supplier of newsprint for Allied Newspapers – had set up offshore companies in the British Virgin Island rough- ly at the same time. Both men and another business- man, Pierre Sladden, converged in the unfolding saga centering around the €30 million printing press built for Progress Press, which is owned by Allied News- papers, publishers of The Times. The allegations have been de- nied by both Schembri and Hill- man. But what emerged was that both Schembri and Hillman had set up BVI offshore companies, respec- tively in January and May 2011, both handled by the same mid- dleman: the Californian Michael del Vecchio, an agent for Mos- sack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm. Del Vecchio set up Schembri's BVI company Colson Services, and then he set up Lestor Hold- ings Group for Adrian Hillman. Progress Press, whose Global Web Systems G-145 Printline was also provided by the Kasco group after winning a tender, was finally inaugurated in July 2011. A third businessman, Pierre Sladden, the owner of Redmap Construction, also featured in the Panama Papers. Redmap had been subcontracted for the rede- velopment of the derelict factory acquired by Allied Newspapers to house the printing press. In November 2013, he set up the BVI company Blue Sea Portfolio. According to the Australian Fi- nancial Review, Sladden's com- pany Redmap Constructions had a €900,000 debt constituted for a Cyprus company called A2Z Con- sulta, to pay for the "provision of services consisting in quality checks and negotiation with sup- pliers". A2Z Consulta, it turned out, was jointly owned by Blue Sea Portfo- lio, Colson Services, and Lestor Holdings. Former Allied manager in talks with directors Labour youths seek end to lifetime ban on gay blood donors MATTHEW AGIUS LABOUR'S youth organ Forum Zghazagh Laburisti has called for the law on gay blood donors to be brought up to date. At present gay people face a lifetime ban on giv- ing blood in Malta. FZL president Alex Saliba ad- dressed the media outside the blood donation centre in Gwarda- mangia yesterday afternoon, pro- moting the 'We all have the same blood' campaign. "HIV was once a subject of ta- boo but advances in medical sci- ence have rendered it detectable much earlier than before," Saliba said. He added that FZL were in favour of adopting the same ap- proach as in other countries in- cluding America, the UK, Italy and France, where men who have had gay sex, or women who have had sex with gay men, are made to wait 12 months before being al- lowed to donate blood. The current lifetime ban on donations by such individuals dates back to the 1980s and has not been updated in Malta since, Saliba said. Next week FZL will be mak- ing the case for the lifting of the lifetime ban to civil liberties and health ministers Helena Dalli and Chris Fearne. The European Court of Hu- man Rights, in its judgment in the Godfrey Legarde case, has held that preventing an individual from ever giving blood on these grounds is a violation of human rights. FZL said it was calling on the government to end the "dis- proportionate measure" and that it hoped this would not be the last change, when scientific progress might lead to a further decrease in the 12-month period. Adrian Hillman

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