The United Nations’ panel of experts has confirmed the involvement of Maltese companies in the smuggling of Libyan fuel that violates UN sanctions, a Maltese court has been told, according to Times of Malta.

The violations were revealed in reports by the United Nations’ sanctions committee, which were tabled in court by the chair of Malta’s sanctions monitoring board in proceedings linked to an extensive police investigation into international fuel smuggling. 

The documents were exhibited in the ongoing compilation of evidence against Pier-Paul Debono, who is pleading not guilty to money laundering activities between 2014 and 2016, when he temporarily held the post of director at World Water Fisheries, a company owned by his brother Darren Debono. 

The panel of experts held that Maltese companies were involved in smuggling of Libyan resources in violation of UN sanctions, the court was told. The witness referred to an executive order by former US President Barack Obama in 2016 prohibiting US citizens from engaging with subjects targeted by UN sanctions and freezing any related property under US jurisdiction. 

"Sanctions also targeted people from Libya, Malta and Egypt allegedly involved in the smuggling of petroleum products from Libya to Europe and once “dirty money” was introduced into the island, it remained a problem for the jurisdiction." Neville Aquilina, chair of the sanctions monitoring board, told the court.