UPDATE 2/Diesel-smuggling, drug-trafficking, car bombs and shootings

Published: October 31, 2016 at 1:08pm

This morning when I woke to the news that another man has been blown up by a bomb in his car, I wrote about an emerging pattern in which diesel-smugglers are blown up by bombs in their car while drug-traffickers are shot by hit-men.

There was one exception, last month, I wrote,  a haulier who was blown up by a car bomb rather than shot. But then the bomb was different to the ones used for diesel smugglers: it was packed with tacks, nails and ball-bearings and didn’t kill him, but led to his legs being amputated.

But I’ve now discovered that it was not an exception at all.

I am informed that the man in question, Josef Cassar, was also a diesel smuggler, and that he is linked to the MV Silverking, a vessel owned by Silver King Ltd, whose only shareholders are Pierre Darmanin, black sheep of the well-respected Tan-Niksu family of Zurrieq, and his estranged wife Annabelle. The vessel was impounded by Customs three years ago and Darmanin was named in a police/customs investigation into a diesel-smuggling ring. Darmanin, who owns Darmanin Fisheries Ltd, had left his family for the Labour Party’s Equal Opportunities Officer, Rachel Tua, and fathered a child by her.

When Martin Cachia, a notorious criminal and diesel-smuggler, was blown up by a bomb in his car last January, Malta Today reported that it had seen a letter, signed by Pierre Darmanin and dated only four weeks earlier, asking “an unspecified recipient to permit Cachia to travel with him to Egypt”.

UPDATE/Pierre Darmanin has now contacted this website to say that his company has sold the MV Silverking when it was released from impound three years ago, but he doesn’t remember to whom he sold it, though he thinks it was to a company owned by a certain Tony.He says that he was not charged with diesel-smuggling (he was investigated). When asked about his written request that Martin Cachia, who was murdered four weeks later, travel with him to Egypt, Darmanin said: “My signature was forged. Martin used to do things like that.” When asked why a diesel-smuggler forging a travel request would pick out his name of all people’s, Darmanin said: “Those of us who own ships (vapuri) all know each other.”

Smuggling diesel from Libya to Malta and Italy is a highly lucrative trade organised by networks of criminals in all three countries.