Updated Saturday am

Allied Newspapers Ltd’s board of directors was convened today following “very serious allegations” made in public.

After the meeting, the board said: “The board has decided to investigate these serious allegations through an independent inquiry.

"The company stresses that the inquiry is a measure of good governance and in no way is it accepting the veracity of these allegations.

“In accordance with best practice, and in agreement with the incumbent, the managing director will be taking leave until the conclusions are considered by the board.

“Michel Rizzo has been appointed acting managing director.”

In a blog earlier today, Daphne Caruana Galizia, referred to the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and holdings in the British Virgin Islands and then added: “There is far more to this story and it involves Allied Newspapers Ltd, publishers of the Times of Malta and The Sunday Times of Malta, directly impacting on the credibility of those two newspapers in the run-up to the general election of 2013, with graft in high places.”

The Times of Malta editor Ray Bugeja said on Radju Malta on Saturday morning that the newspapers respected the board's decision.

"We have always made a clear distinction between the company's commercial and administrative and editorial sides. Although we are in continuous contact and discuss issues, we take our own editorial decisions. So the decision does not change anything in reality."

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