A man is facing prosecution in Malta for trying to import deadly substances of the type used for assassinations. The intended victim, however, is not yet known.

Jomic Calleja, a 34-year old Żebbuġ resident, was arrested in March in the course of investigations by the anti-terrorist unit following a tip-off by foreign security services about unidentified persons who were trying to buy Polonium-210, Ricin and Fentaynl on the dark web, a court was told on Wednesday.

Intercepted communications between the seller and buyer, dating back to June 2019, revealed plans for the radioactive material to be administered in lethal doses to a person weighing between 55 and 65 kilos and 165-175 centimetres tall.

Calleja allegedly sought to buy five doses of the deadly Polonium-210, which when administered through food or drink would kill the targeted victim within two weeks.

Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive material and a deadly poison that gained notoriety as the substance that was used to kill former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London back in 2006.

Calleja stands accused of trying to illegally import explosives and a lethal poison from the United States, via a seller on the dark web. He has requested bail.

During the compilation of evidence on Wednesday, a constable from the Police Weapons Office reported that Calleja had never applied for a licence to import explosives.

A representative from the Malta Financial Services Authority explained that the financial watchdog had received information about the accused, who also went by the name of Jomic Grech and who was running a company without the necessary authorisation.

That unregistered company was subsequently identified as Bitcoin and Autotrader, operating from a Qormi showroom. Various social media posts revealed a link between the company and a profile under the name of Jomic Grech, the witness explained, further identifying the accused in court.

The owner of the Qormi premises also testified, identifying Calleja as the person with whom he had signed an agreement relating to the car showroom.

Defence lawyer Benjamin Valenzia informed the court that the accused was willing to hand over the passwords to technical equipment seized by police during their investigations, which were still ongoing.

However, the prosecution, led by Superintendent George Cremona and Inspector Omar Zammit, pointed out that the accused had refused to cooperate earlier on and had firmly refused to “hand over anything” to investigators.

When making submissions on bail, Valenzia argued that the accused was presumed innocent and that all civilian witnesses had testified. Moreover, when granted police bail over separate drug charges, the accused had never tried to abscond.

However, the prosecution objected, not only in view of the gravity of the charges, but also since the investigations were still ongoing and “the intended target had not yet been identified.”

Bail was denied.

The case continues later this month.

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