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Rita Schembri defamation case: Arguments on freezing of assets

Rita Schembri

Rita Schembri

A magistrate said today that he would decide at a later stage whether to order the freezing of the assets of  Joe Borg , who is pleading not guilty to attempting to blackmail Rita Schembri, the head of the government’s internal audit bureau (IAID).

The request was made by the Attorney General.

Mr Borg is accused of having attempted to blackmail Ms Schembri, through an e-mail where he allegedly accused her of breaching a lease agreement.

Ms Schembri is at the centre of an investigation which she herself requested over allegations that she breached a code of ethics.

Magistrate Anthony Vella said he could not understand why the request for the freezing of assets was being made in a case over defamation.

Defence lawyer Daniel Buttigieg agreed that it was not right for his client to have his assets frozen over this case. He said his client was a businessman who always obeyed the law and this was not a case of money laundering.

Magistrate Anthony Vella deferred the case and said he would give a decision on whether or not the accused’s assets should be frozen at a later date.

Inspector Chris Pullicino told the court he had another witness to testify before he would be able to close his case.

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