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Police deny ministry official pressured them into releasing footballer Bogdanovich

Inquiry board given 3 weeks to look into Malta Today claims

Bogdanovich has 32 caps for Malta.

Bogdanovich has 32 caps for Malta.

Updated 2pm - Added PN statement

An inquiry led by former AFM brigadier Carmel Vassallo is to investigate claims that footballer Daniel Bogdanovich was released from police custody following pressure from a ministry official.

Malta Today has alleged that Bogdanovich, a former Malta international who now plays for Xewkija Tigers, was released after an official intervened, allowing him to kit up for his team's match against rivals Kercem last Sunday. 

Bogdanovich was arrested the previous evening on charges of domestic violence and carrying a firearm. He was subsequently arraigned in court on Monday and conditionally released from arrest. 

In a statement, the Government said that police had denied Malta Today's claims and insisted that procedures had been followed throughout. 

It said that it would nevertheless be commissioning an internal investigation into the matter. The inquiry will seek to establish whether any external pressure was exerted in this case, whether the law was broken and if police provisions in domestic violence cases are adequate. 

The board of inquiry will report back with its findings in three weeks' time, the government said. 

In a separate statement, the parliamentary secretariat for EU Funding announced that Jesmond Zammit, who heads parliamentary secretary Ian Borg's secretariat, was temporarily stepping aside while the investigation looked into the claims, which he denied.  

Aside from leading Dr Borg's secretariat, Mr Zammit is also the coach of Xewkija Tigers, the team Mr Bogdanovich plays for. 

Bogdanovich, 36, received 32 caps for Malta, scoring once in a 2-2 draw against Kazakhstan. His football career has included stints at several local clubs as well as periods with English clubs Barnsley, Sheffield United and Blackpool. 

'Another example of abuse of power' - PN

In a statement, the Nationalist Party accused the police of bowing to politicians' demands. The incident, the party said, was "another scandal which reveals how the Muscat government is abusing the country's institutions." 

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