If John Dalli was HuBastjan, then does that make the prime minister’s chief of staff KuginRyan?

Published: October 9, 2014 at 7:11pm

Keith Schembri, the prime minister's chief of staff and a big business operator in Libya for years. His cousin Ryan Schembri (their fathers are brothers) has disappeared in a drug-money-related scandal. His ''cross-border trade in meat from Brazil" and his "business in Libya" were a front for moving 'meat' of a very different nature.

Keith Schembri, the prime minister’s chief of staff and a big business operator in Libya for years. His cousin Ryan Schembri (their fathers are brothers) has disappeared in a drug-money-related scandal. His ”cross-border trade in meat from Brazil” and his “business in Libya” were a front for moving ‘meat’ of a very different nature.

Joseph Muscat’s party spent years ripping its real and perceived political enemies to shreds, to the point of grave slander, making accusations about drugs and corruption and illegal money and the rest.

And now when the biggest drug-money scandal to hit Malta, in three years full of drug-money-related scandals, explodes in the news today, we find out that – what do you know – it’s Ryan Schembri and his father and the prime minister’s chief of staff’s are brothers.

Yes, that’s right – it turns out that when Keith Schembri and Joseph Muscat and the rest of the sordid and sorry despicable bunch were using their Labour media machine to go after others, at times innocent others, all the while Keith Schembri’s very own first cousin was trafficking illegal drugs under the guise of “cross-border trade in meat from Brazil” and taking money from greedy scum to finance it.

Do I have sympathy for those who financed Ryan Schembri and who have now lost their money? No, I don’t. When you hand over your money – great stashes of it – with no questions asked and no answers given, in return for large sums of interest paid in cash on a monthly basis, you have to have been living on Pluto from birth not to know that what you are doing is financing trafficking in illegal drugs.

Not only were these people who lost their money participating in criminal activity while pretending not to know about it because – oh dear me – they hadn’t asked and hadn’t been told, but they are guilty too of the grave immorality of ruining many people’s lives, not just the people hooked on those drugs and the families who must suffer and deal with them, but also the people on the other side, the peasants working in great danger and feudal conditions who grow, often at gunpoint, the raw materials for the criminal drug market.

Keith Schembri has told the press that he has no connection with his cousin Ryan and never has had any connection. Presumably he means business, even though this Ryan somehow got into the Libyan supermarket business when still in his late 20s and when his cousin (with whom he has no connection) Keith Schembri had a sizeable Kasco operation going there.

I suppose Ryan Schembri woke up one morning aged 28 or 29 and decided to open a supermarket in Libya with no connections in that country where it is impossible to do anything without them.

I hope, for all our sakes, that John Dalli and/or his drug-running brother Bastjan – both of whom operated heavily in the Gaddafi era (John Dalli even has a house in Tripoli) are not going to surface in this particular mess too. I have the most sick-making feeling that the “monster mess lurking just below the surface” of Maltese society, which I wrote about for my column in The Malta Independent recently, is a good deal worse and more monstrous than we can possibly imagine.

I think the mistake we are making, journalists and the public alike, is to consider all these things and people in isolation if we consider them at all. Malta is just a town of fewer than half a million people. Criminals like these are not operating in isolation or independently of each other. Their money and their activities are crossing at some points, with power interests in crime, business and politics coinciding, intersecting and shoring each other up just beneath the surface.

39 Comments Comment

  1. D. Zammit says:

    You are one hell of a journalist! Keep it up Daphne………the rest should follow.

  2. Towni says:

    Could this be the reason Muscat goes everywhere – even the president’s fun run – surrounded by at least five bodyguards?

    • Ben says:

      Good, now spread the word. Point this out to as many people as you can. Why on earth does Muscat need all those bodyguards. Some shady individuals guarding our prime minister.

  3. Hamallu says:

    Meanwhile Alessandra Pace has taken her FB profile down…

  4. vanni says:

    It’s interesting that Keith Schembri felt he had to point out that he had no connection with his cousin. Some suspicious people might think he doth protest too much.

  5. canon says:

    What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. But Net TV is not One TV.

  6. Towni says:

    Might be interesting to see if now Keith Kasco will be afraid of becoming the next target for these criminals.

  7. random says:

    All this murky business with Libya may explain why Malta has had no success in oil exploration.

    It seems that those who have these lucrative connections with Libya do not want to upset that country by pushing to the forefront Malta’s legitimate bid for oil in its continental shelf.

    Hence Maltese politicians’ timid approach to the serious problem of our continental shelf delimitation and non existant oil exploration programme.

    The result is that they keep their business interests in Libya (now up in smoke) while we keep paying for imported oil.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      No. It explains why Sliema and Portomaso are now chock-a-block with Libyans, running their country and their dirty business from the comfort of a cafe table or a giant shiny white SUV.

      • COD says:

        Yes that’s what they are doing and no one bat an eyelid. Maltese people are so hard on irregular emigrants, yet if it’s Libyans it’s ok.

  8. ciccio says:

    Bill Clinton: “I did not have sex with that woman.”

    Keith tal-Kasco: “I have no connection with that meat from Brazil.”

  9. Jien says:

    Breathtaking stuff, Daphne – and I’m sure you are 100% spot on too.

  10. ciccio says:

    Meanwhile, Malta Today brings in Matthew Vella to get a declaration from Keith tal-Kasco.

    “I have absolutely no association to my cousin. We were not connected through business or in anyway and have had no connection in the past and present,” he told this newspaper.

    How stupid. Keith Schembri tal-Kasco, KuginRyan, and right hand man of prime minister Joseph Muscat, is denying that he is associated to his cousin. Is he denying that their fathers were in fact brothers?

    Every time the government has a crisis, MaltaToday gets Matthew Vella to cover the story.


  11. pacikk says:

    What goes around, comes around.

  12. Sparky says:

    In the mean time, “works” have started at the new power station site. And we’re all expected to believe the power station will be operational by March 2015.

  13. ciccio says:

    Makes me wonder how this guy could sell all that meat. At Tyson Butcher, with Eur 40 million of meat you could get Eur 20 million worth of free chips, making it much more wertit.

    • Tabatha White says:

      Makes me wonder as to quality of meat on the market, and provenance.

      Not just Brazil, but China? and repackaged as Pure Irish Beef or Halal meat?

      I wouldn’t expect an enquiry from anyone in government.

  14. Silvio Farrugia says:

    Thank God you are back, Daphne, and how courageous you are. Most of us have not an ounce of your courage. You are just amazing. What you write others are so afraid to do.

    May God keep you safe. Take care. Please we need you in this corrupt country desperately.

    • Spagu says:

      You are unique in this country of pimps, thieves and opportunists. May God give you more courage and the good people of Malta protect you.

      • Pete Ross says:

        Same here. Good work, Daphne. And I’m being serious about it: watch your back.

        These people have no morals and are protected by the chief pimp who has taken over control of the media and therefore people’s minds and the country.

        It is often said that Kasco ‘owns’ the Times of Malta. If this is true, then he has also control over the PN’s deputy leader who is on the Strickland Foundation board. I hope I’m wrong.

      • We are living in Financial Times says:

        @ Pete Ross

        There’s another person on the Strickland Foundation Board, and his links go to the same connection to Nair, in direct fashion and with displayed interest.

  15. La Redoute says:

    Assuming a retail price of Eur7.50 for a prime steak, Eur40,000,000 would buy 5,333,333 steaks. A wholesale trader would get far more.

  16. CMB says:

    “Do You Know Who I Am”……. Of course we do know now.

  17. ken mercieca says:

    Well, that’s why I don’t find it right when Keith tal-Kasco is allowed to chauffeur and pick up Libyan travellers straight from the runway tarmac and off to a disguised location rather then letting the VIP pass through the normal channels of customs etc.

    Imbaghad iridna nemnu li m’ ghandu x’ jaqsam xejn.

    He should be above suspicion.

  18. A new “Who’s Who” is required in Malta. The front cover should feature a spider’s web.

  19. chico says:

    I guess surf and turf – with Brazilian steak – has got a whole new meaning

  20. Jozef says:

    That it was a drug war was clear: executions removing the old guard to establish the new.

    That it coincided with the country’s political temperature, a fever to get the PN out, also fact, why and how remains to be seen.

    That Labour misses change for more of the same tried tested and obsolete ways, ones where money was, and perhaps must still be, laundered to sustain the model, is enough to force us to stop looking elsewhere.

    Even because the new big boys just don’t have it in them to fragment, diversify and create growth. What they’re doing instead is a showdown.

    Having Chris Cardona grumble he just hasn’t a clue what to do, call it a minor revolt, economic development hogged by the OPM’s agenda, was also headlines this morning.

    Ok, so I get carried away.

    • Tabatha White says:

      I don’t think you get carried away.

      Focus on who’s in control of security next? at the various levels.

      It may turn full circle to the paltry 500,000 stash source which wouldn’t have been anything but the usual commission. A drop in the ocean.

      Puppets and puppet masters. ToM nicely stumm.

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