EXCLUSIVE: The man hiding out under heavily armed guard at L-Ambjent in Xemxija is Ali Zeidan, Libya’s ex prime minister

Published: June 8, 2014 at 10:17am

Ali Zeidan, prime minister of Libya until he lost a vote of confidence and fled to Malta last March, defying a travel ban

Ali Zeidan, prime minister of Libya until he lost a vote of confidence and fled to Malta last March, defying a travel ban

Yesterday I uploaded the following:

Two cars each containing four plain clothes police officers/secret service agents/security guards, all of them carrying revolvers, are permanently parked outside a block of flats called Ambjent Complex, which is situated between the church and the fire station on Xemxija hill, where a restaurant called L-Ambjent used to be in the 1970s/1980s. When the occupant of flat number 2 emerges, gets into his car and drives off, one car containing four armed men follows him closely. The other stays behind near the flat.

Last Sunday at 1.15pm, the prime minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, who has extensive business dealings under the Kasco company name, was seen leaving the flat.

The flat is rented out. The person who lives there is not the owner. I am told that this situation has been going on since last March.

This morning I can report that the man hiding out under heavily armed guard at flat number 2, Ambjent Complex in Xemxija is former Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan, who fled Libya last March when he lost a vote of confidence in the Tripoli parliament and the state prosecutor issued a travel ban, saying that he is to be investigated for “financial corruption and other irregularities”.

Zeidan defied the travel ban and used a state jet to escape. He flew to Malta. The Maltese government told the press that this was just a refuelling stop, that Zeidan “had not sought asylum”, and that within a couple of hours he boarded a private jet for Germany, while the Libyan state plane returned to Tripoli. This has turned out to have been untrue.

We now know that if that private jet left for Germany at all, it did so as a blind without Ali Zeidan on board, or with somebody standing in for him to create a mise-en-scene. Zeidan stayed on in Malta and has been here in a flat in Xemxija ever since.

When the German embassy in Malta was asked at the time by Times of Malta about Zeidan’s flight to Germany, and whether he had sought asylum there, the deputy head of mission said: “The German embassy does not have any information regarding your inquiry.”

The heavily armed men who have since March guarded Zeidan round the clock at the Xemxija flat are provided by the Maltese government, through the Secret Service/police.

It is likely that Ali Zeidan had prepared the way for his escape to Malta in anticipation of trouble, and that it was not as sudden as it appeared. In February he flew to Switzerland without disclosing the purpose of the trip, though that purpose is not difficult to work out. En route back to Tripoli from Switzerland, he landed briefly in Malta, with the Maltese government telling the press that it was for “technical reasons”.




96 Comments Comment

  1. mc says:

    Daphne, int m’hawnx bhalek.

  2. curious says:

    Joseph Muscat has to take responsibility for this scandalous lie. This is not trivial.

  3. Sister Ray says:

    top notch

  4. curious says:

    A prophetic headline by Malta Today:

    https://www.google.com.mt/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDYQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w.maltatoday.com.mt%2Fnews%2Fnational%2F30734%2Fzeidan-and-muscat-a-fleeting-look-at-a-budding-friendship-20131016&ei=lyCUU9_bOIuI7Aac64HQAw&usg=AFQjCNGz1uzWlVxEg7dv5RzUb__TCSwymg

    “The Prime Minister’s surprise visit to Libya on Sunday not only bolstered the relationship between Malta and Libya but also embodied the strong friendship between Joseph Muscat and his Libyan counterpart, Ali Zeidan.

    Muscat was the first Western leader to visit Zeidan following the latter’s kidnapping on Thursday; and Sunday’s visit was his third to Libya in his first seven months in office. Moreover, Muscat and Zeidan also met in Malta and New York in recent weeks.”

  5. Nostradamus says:

    Your a QUEEN

    NO newspaper or journalist has got your guts and determination….

    I have never said this. but YOU ROCK.

  6. Francis Saliba M.D. says:

    Lies, damned lies and Muscat government’s press releases – never mind manipulated “statistics”.

  7. Natalie Mallett says:

    Dear Daphne, why don’t you start training journalists? You are a perfect example of what journalism is all about. If it were not for this blog there will be no relevant news to talk about and the nation will be led blindly by the sly snake better known as Joseph Muscat. Is this in return for the cheap fuel deal by any chance or a personal business deal? How much is this illegal immigrant costing us tax payers?

  8. zunzana says:

    What a scoop, Daphne! You should receive this year’s award for the best investigative journalist. Well done and keep it up.

  9. Neil says:

    Wow! Brilliant work, Daphne. Now let’s see if any other mainstream journalist has the cojones to doorstep Muscat or Mallia about this one.

    It’s quite shocking to think our government would play the major role in a lie and international scandal of this magnitude.

  10. random says:

    Let us not forget that in September last year, Joseph Muscat’s government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Libya, then headed by Mr Zeidan, which included the purchase of oil at cheap rates.

    The caveat was that when Libyan oil production was to revert to the levels produced during Gadaffi’s regime (circa 1.6 million barrels per day) Malta can purchase oil from Libya at advantageous prices.

    Experts immediately told us that Libyan oil production will not reach pre-civil war levels, yet Joseph Muscat fell for Mr Zeidan’s trap. Muscat even told us that Libyan production will reach pre-civil war levels within weeks. This never happened.

    Mr Zeidan has fooled Malta and now Joseph Muscat gives him sanctuary.

    [Daphne – I wouldn’t be so naive as to think that this is a simple favour to a friend.]

  11. silly says:

    Dan il-gvern hu perikoluz.

  12. silvio says:

    Could it be that you are putting his life at risk by giving away his hiding place?

    Would you feel on top of the world if his enemies were to assassinate him?

    Why was the P.M. wrong in providing him with protection?

    [Daphne – It is not the role of journalists to protect fugitives from justice or prime ministers from their own lies and deceit, Mr Loporto, but rather the opposite. Also, it is not Malta’s role to provide shelter to heads of government escaping prosecution and investigation for corruption in their own country. Another point:e when a head of state or head of government who flees or tries to flee in similar circumstances is given refuge by another state, this becomes a matter of public interest and discussion not only in the state which gives refuge but also internationally. It is a matter with huge diplomatic repercussions. That the government should give shelter secretly to a man in this position, and conceal it from the public which it has a duty to inform and CONSULT, is shocking. There is also the not-insignificant matter that giving refuge to a Libyan ex PM escaping justice in Libya affects our diplomatic relations with that country. Did Margaret Thatcher smuggle Augusto Pinochet into Britain and conceal his presence there from the British public, or lie to the British press and the British public about how he had left when all the while he had stayed? It’s inconceivable. And imagine the reaction of the British press if they had discovered the prime minister had lied to them so brazenly.]

    • B says:

      @Silvio: it is rather naive of you to suggest that information, obtained by high quality journalistic craft (as in this case), is not already available to so-called enemies who are seeking to assassinate him.

      Assassins, by definition, also have other means to obtain information, over and above the means applied by Daphne just now.

    • M. Cassar says:

      With people who argue like Silvio here, does one wonder why/how we are in the situation we are in?

      I just wonder what would have happened if it were a Nationalist government who had done this, what would Silvio have said then?

      • curious says:

        Silvio would not have said anything. He would have just bought a rope to hang the PN with, figuratively speaking of course.

    • silvio says:

      If as you say it will affect our diplomatic relations with Libya, I bet my last Euro that it won’t be long before Simon Busuttil jumps on the bandwagon.

      I would like to ask M.Cassar, what is the situation you say we are in?

      • A+ says:

        Oh I see, so it is all Simon Busuttil’s fault, isn’t it?

        Mr Loporto, would you explain to us why our prime minister would have allowed something like this to happen? Why?

        Did Mr Zeidan fund any activity or organization in Malta? Is there any link with the citizenship scheme?

        Perhaps, all that’s left is for the government to launch a repatriation of assets scheme for the ‘now’ Maltese and the ‘proper’ Maltese?

        Ms. Caruana Galizia has been upturning various jigsaw pieces, Will you help us put them together?

    • Another John says:

      Trust Silvio to get the wrong end of the stick.

    • Don Camillo says:

      Our Prime Minister is making a fuss about the EU not doing anything about immigrants.

      He has the ‘wiccek u sormok l’istess’ attitude towards the poor immigrants coming to our shores.

      Yet he and the shameful government he leads say nothing about protecting people the likes of Mr Zeidan and other ‘personae non gratae’ in Malta.

      Perhaps the passport selling scheme and other interests are making our regime more receptive and collaborative in hiding this all from the people who elected him and from the rest of the population.

      Malta has been reduced to a police state where you are being spied upon, where the press, starting from the Times of Malta, have been gagged into submission.

      Journalists are content with receiving biscuits so that they can let sleeping dogs lie. Unlike you, Daphne, who are the bulwark of what journalism should be like.

      Times of Malta are happy to be given ‘il-loqom’ by leaked info and all they need to do is to embellish the info with nice words in favour of the present government. –

      Everybody else has been reduced to submission and silence as if it’s business as usual. Quo Vadis Malta? The majority of our populations don’t see behind the smokescreen and we are in for worse times.

      European politics is not in the vocabulary of the PL, we know where the leanings are. And we should be really concerned about the situation.

      A few Euros given free from our own tax money should not make this prime minister a new Salvatur. Let’s look beyond the white-washed facade and do our best to stop this government from taking us back to the times when the old Salvatur adored people like Kim il Sung, Gaddafi,and other leaders who subjected their population to fear, intimidation and violence, physical and moral.

  13. helen says:

    That’s a fine kettle of fish.

  14. G says:

    Next important question: what was the prime minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, doing at Ali Zeidan’s flat last Sunday?

  15. Hideaway says:

    Prosit Daphne! You are the only journalist worth her salt on these islands. All the others are under the same spell of Sleeping Beauty.

  16. observer says:

    Now, that the cat is out of the bag, we expect that all hell will break loose. Quo vadis Mallia?

  17. RF says:

    Excellent investigative work. And Lou “ġurnaliżmu fuq kollox” Bondi has allowed to be muzzled for 54 grand.
    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140608/local/bondi-earning-54000-as-festivities-consultant.522386

    • Gahan says:

      Someone said Lou Bondi is being paid for his silence. I would say he’s being paid for some backroom deal before Joseph Muscat was made Prime Minister.

      I really hate people with no morals. Anything goes and everyone has a price!

  18. Francis Saliba M.D. says:

    “Malta hanina! – very much so to our Libyan neighbours.

    In Mintoff-KMB days as a hidden vipers’ nest of Arab-Libyan International terrorist organisations.

    In the time of the Gonzi Nationalist Party government by giving praiseworthy refuge to Libyan jet fighter pilots refusing to kill fellow Libyans who were trying to rid the country of the Gaddafi’s dicratorship.

    In post-Gaddafi Libya Muscat’s LP government giving refuge to fugitive ex-prime ministers and blatantly lying about our hidden involvement.

    That’s Muscat government’s “transparency” as it is practiced.

  19. Genius says:

    Daphne,

    What are your sources for this story? Do you have any evidence or proof? Perhaps a picture of him walking out of the apartment?

    Could you maybe give us an overview of how you confirmed your sources?

    [Daphne – You are deluded to imagine that I would reveal my sources. Not even a court of law has the power to do that. The protection of a journalist’s sources is sacrosanct. You do not need photographs, evidence or proof – but if you want all of those things, you have the address and can station yourself outside and get a good look.]

  20. S. Cuschieri says:

    Thanks for doing a great job! This is a serious matter – people are voting for these liars and it’s such a shame!

  21. Adrian says:

    Keep up the good work.

  22. Freedom5 says:

    The REAL One News .

  23. edgar says:

    Lou Bondi has sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver. Gurnalizmu fuq kollox ghal bejgh,

  24. D says:

    Excellent work, Daphne. You lead, others follow.

  25. M. Cassar says:

    If anyone denies that it has become really scary to live in Malta they must be delusional.

    The prime minister, no less, goes on record saying that this wanted person has left the island and that now seems to be a complete lie. I can just hear the wheels of power whirring and grunting to find a way to spin this and if that fails, complete silence will do.

    Someone must owe someone else quite a bit! How utterly ghastly considering that one expects all newspapers to have more resources than you do, but they are busy fawning on press releases and, one would think, catching up on their zzzzzzzs.

    • gaetano pace says:

      Once the Germans and the Swiss were mentioned, it will be the most interesting to know what these countries have to say about Muscat`s blunt outright lies and more lies and still more lies.

  26. iced bun says:

    Impressive journalism!

    Now what could be the relationship between Ali Zeidan and Keith Schembri tal-Kasco?

    • A+ says:

      What could be the relationship between the most powerful and well connected Maltese man in Libya and the Malta Labour Party?

  27. Qeghdin Sew says:

    “Mhux fl-interess tal-poplu.”

    Kudos to you.

    • curious says:

      It is much more than that. I would classify it as a serious betrayal to the security of the people of Malta.

      Muscat should have already called a press conference for this afternoon. Mhux fuq xi 2c. rohs tal-fuel, tafx.

      It is not only Muscat who is involved in this but also Manuel Mallia, George Vella, Peter Paul Zammit and Keith Schembri.

      Expect foreign diplomatic backlash.

  28. edgar says:

    The Daily Mirror sent a journalist to Malta to follow the UKIP leader Nigel Farage on something trivial, and here in Malta, Daphne reveals that there are eight armed guards standing round the clock at a particular address and not one journalist gets off his ass and goes to investigate.

  29. beingpressed says:

    So what is the connection between Libya’s ex PM, who is wanted in his own country, and the Maltese government? Why didn’t Joseph Muscat and Manuel Mallia push him back?

  30. Giovanni says:

    First Henley & Partners and now Ali Zeidan – any more interested in financing the PL? Daphne, congratulations as always and also your sources among Joe Public who contribute to bring us up-to-date news on the one and only news portal.

  31. Macduff says:

    This confirms how Joseph Muscat has really and truly turned Malta into an isolated pariah state, not only among the Europeans, but now even with the North Africans.

    Great job, Daphne. I am somewhat concerned about your safety, though.

  32. Giovanni says:

    Way to go, Times of Malta – they get the news from you and donot have the decency to report their public source as The Malta Independent has done.

  33. Worker says:

    Thanks, Daphne. Let’s hope that all of us Maltese citizens who work in Libya won’t get into trouble because of your so-called journalism.

    • verita says:

      Worker, it’s Muscat the PM you should be blaming, for sheltering a Libyan ex PM wanted in his own country for corruption.

    • curious says:

      If anybody gets into trouble it will be the government’s fault for hiding such essential information from the public.

    • Qeghdin Sew says:

      When you take up a job in an unstable country, you accept all the risks that come with it. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  34. Malti says:

    Well done, Daphne. You are the source of real news in this country.

    The PL government, primarily Prime Minister Muscat and Minister Mallia, are serving the Maltese public ill by hiding the truth and certainly for bringing our country in a shameful position with these events.

  35. Alexander Ball says:

    How long until he has a Maltese passport?

    • Alexander Ball says:

      Just discovered he has German citizenship. Then why are we paying to guard him here? Wouldn’t he be safer in Germany?

  36. adrian sciberras says:

    This person is not a criminal; he was trying to organize Libya’s government, and had to flee for his own safety and security so I do not understand why we re trying to put a concoction to local politics.

    We are friends of Libya; it is not a question of politics. Go to Sliema, Tigne Point, it looks like Gargerish Rd. We accepted them, they are bringing money to our economy and they are very good people in general.

    Once Libya is out of turmoil, Malta will benefit a lot economically as to Libyan’s Malta is their gateway to Europe. Just my honest thought.

    • curious says:

      Keep focused. The problem is not whether Zeidan is a criminal or not or whether he should be given shelter here or in Germany or any other country in the EU.

      The one question is why we were not told the truth. The government of Malta is accountable for this situation.

  37. leonidas says:

    L-artiklu fuq din l-istorja giet mnehhija minn timesofmalta.com dil-minuta. Kont qed naqraha, hrigt meta ergajt dhalt biex naqraha tieni darba tnehhiet. X’qed jigri?

  38. Trisha says:

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140608/local/former-libyan-pm-zeidan-living-in-malta.522522

    An hour and a half after your story, it appears here on Times of Malta. They didn’t even have the decency to quote their sources.

  39. Norman Vella says:

    Chapeau, Ms Caruana Galizia. This is what I call journalism.

    As for Labour, the word ‘tranparancy’ has vanished from its dictionary the moment Muscat took over at Castille. Shame on them, the bunch of liars.

  40. Tinnat says:

    The Prime Minister says you are completely wrong, Daphne. As he has always been honest, truthful, sincere and transparent I suppose we should believe him.

  41. gurnalizmufuqkollox says:

    Fejn huma l-gurnalisti? Gurnalisti bla bajd ghandna hawn Malta. Jew gurnalisti li l-ghan taghhom hu li jiehdu paga ta’ MEP. Prosit, Daphne.

  42. lumia says:

    Thank God Prim Minister Gonzi was in charge of Malta when the Libyan crisis broke. If it were for Muscat, all hell would have broke loose.

    Your guts have no limits Daphne. Well done! Let’s see what that landlocked whale, Manuel Mallia, has to say about this.

  43. Osservatore says:

    This is going to have the Secret Service running around in circles until they decide to come knocking on your door. And this time round, Lou Bondi will not come running as he has shifted allegiances because unlike you, he has allowed himself to be muzzled by his new masters for Eur54,000 a year.

    You are a beacon in this world of faux journalists living off the cookie-crumbs in our government’s pockets. You have earned both our respect and our gratitude.

  44. gaetano pace says:

    SCOOP in its essence. Well done, Daphne. Now the next news item in line should be “What is the financial relationship between Zeidan and Muscat?

    Is this another source of finance for the Labour Party?

  45. anthony says:

    As I have said before, I find it impossible to tell if the PM ever says the truth.

    Whenever he says something, I assume he is lying to be on the safe side.

    Anyway, the star in this umpteenth shameful episode of our utterly incompetent government is not our lying and devious PM.

    It is Daphne.

  46. curious says:

    Pay attention to the words used. “Zeidan is not residing in Malta.”

    Is he on holiday? Tourists that are presently in Malta are not residents. Also, one can come here for business or for a short stay and he will not be a resident of Malta.

    Kurt Farrugia, please elaborate.

    • Alexander Ball says:

      Zeidan holds German citizenship as well. Maybe he ‘resides’ there.

      • Katin says:

        I strongly doubt he has German citizenship. The only way to get that would be through a German mother or having lived there for 10 years. Neither is the case.

    • Spock says:

      Or to live out the required time to be able to buy a passport

  47. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Splendid. How does this play out with the current Libyan government? I’d say the Libyan civil war has now spread to Malta.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Thanks, but I think I shall join our Libyan brothers on the march to Castille.

      We’ve just taken sides in the war, my dear friends.

      I always knew it would be something of this sort that would bring down the Labour government. They’re dabbling in things which are way beyond them.

      Perhaps someone would care to get a comment from the US Ambassador.

  48. Anthony V Falzon says:

    Hope that your disclosure does not put his life in danger.

    [Daphne – Oh don’t be ridiculous. You should more properly be saying that you hope my disclosure doesn’t put my life in danger.]

    • Anthony V Falzon says:

      I don’t think so Daphne. Zeidan was a human rights lawyer in Geneva and was seen as a staunch U.S. ally.

      He was removed from power after he allowed the U.S. to arrest a wanted terrorist on Libyan soil.

      Ever occurred to you that Maltese government is working with the U.S., the French or other Western governments in this matter? Fact that security service is providing him with protection and reports keep disappearing from Times of Malta (on national security grounds?) may be giveaways.

      I am not saying you do not have a right to report what you did, it is a free country, but the reasons for the government “deception” may be based on national security/international relations grounds!

      [Daphne – I doubt it. This is the Labour government we’re talking about. Its interest in the matter will be purely (wrong word there) financial. The US’s interest in the matter might well be something else, in which case the ambassador might wish to take a break from going to Michelle Muscat’s fashion shows and issue a statement.]

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      My dear Anthony V Falzon, it’s YOUR life that’s in danger, and the lives of all your fellow countrymen.

      We are sheltering a wanted fugitive. That makes us his accomplice. We’ve just scored a jihad own goal.

  49. canon says:

    Jaqaw il-gideb jittiehed? Ghax kull min imiss ma’ Joseph Muscat jispicca jigdeb bhalu.

  50. Anthony V Falzon says:

    I doubt that your life is in danger. Who supported Zeidan? The U.S. and France. When was he removed? After he allowed U.S. to arrest wanted terrorist on Libyan soil? By whom? Militants close to Al Qaeda.

    Perhaps the Maltese government is working hand in hand with U.S. and other Western governments in providing Zeidan with a safe place to live in Malta.

    [Daphne – Oh, I have little doubt that the US is involved. It would have to be. Its intelligence is second to none. The US ambassador should be a little more subtle about her involvement with and support for the Labour government and its Taghna Lkoll social trolls, though – it doesn’t look at all good.]

  51. J C says:

    well done,Daphne and thank you for the sterling work you are giving the nation. prosit!

  52. Hussam says:

    The fact that Zeidan is in Malta is quite well suspected here but there was no proof. Now we have proof. Malta has taken sides in a nasty internecine argument in Libya.

    So many of us will live to regret this, especially us who live and work in Libya

Leave a Comment