Updated 1.20pm with Hillman's reaction

Adrian Hillman's consultancy contracts with the Malta Gaming Authority have been terminated by new Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo in a show of "zero tolerance" to anyone tarnishing the industry's reputation.

In a tweet late on Thursday, Mr Bartolo said the former Allied Newspapers managing director has been taking payments intended for a private company through consultancies from the gaming authority.

"I've ordered this contract to be terminated immediately as a show of zero tolerance to potentially damaging behaviour to such a crucial industry," the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy said.

A government spokesperson also confirmed that Mr Hillman would no longer serve on the Board of Trustees at the American University of Malta, where he served as a government representative. 

Hillman reacts

Reacting, Mr Hillman called on the Junior Minister to retract and clarify his potentially libellous statement. 

He said he failed to understand Mr Bartolo’s position and "personal attack".

"In making a public statement full of insinuations, he is attempting to destroy a single individual.

"To him I am guilty by association with members within his own party. He must be conscious that his predecessor was cognisant of my role over the past years. My understanding is that what he is saying is libellous," he said.

Mr Hillman said that Mr Bartolo must therefore retract and clarify his statement and that he "will be acting accordingly".

MGA contracts

In 2018, Times of Malta reported that Mr Hillman was earning €4,000 a month from a government consultancy job at the MGA.

MGA had appointed Mr Hillman to manage its reputation at a time when he was subject of a magisterial inquiry on claims of money laundering. He was doing the job as a result of a direct order given to him on the instructions of the Office of the Prime Minister.

Mr Hillman had resigned his post as managing director of Allied Newspapers, publishers of Times of Malta, soon after his name surfaced in the Panama Papers leaks.

Documents showed that Mr Hillman owned secret companies in the British Virgin Islands, similar to the ones set up in Panama by Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna for Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.

Slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had revealed a series of transactions for some €650,000 between Mr Hillman and the former Prime Minister's chief of staff.

He had been put on the state payroll just two weeks after the 2017 election won by Labour. He had also been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the American University of Malta.

But Mr Hillman will also be stripped of that role, a government spokesman said on Friday.

In response to questions, an Education Ministry spokesman said that "Mr Adrian Hillman will no longer be the Government nominee on AUM.”

Are the police taking any action? - Repubblika

The termination of Mr Hillman's contract was just a first step towards justice, but it was still not enough for Repubblika.

The civil society group questioned whether the police were taking any criminal action against Mr Hillman, following the allegations that he had misappropriated funds. 

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