A claim by a Libyan that it had taken him three days to register his company in Malta alerted a police inspector that something was not in order, a court heard today.

Inspector Frankie Sammut, from the Immigration Department was testifying in the compilation of evidence against accountant and auditor Joe Sammut.

The 58-year-old former Labour Party treasurer and candidate stands charged with helping Libyans set up companies in Malta to obtain residency permits using forged documents and fraudulent means.

He is also charged with misappropriation and non-observance of the due diligence expected of him in his professional capacity.

The inspector told Magistrate Doreen Clarke that in July, Identity Malta informed him about suspected irregularities in the issuing of residency permits for Libyans.

Inspector Sammut said he had to use an interpreter to speak to a Libyan who had turned to pick up a residency permit for which he had claimed he could speak English.

The Libyan, who has since been deported, had said he had completed the application through a person who had been in touch with the accused.

He did not know anything about his company or how many shares he held, the inspector said, adding that he grew suspicious when the Libyan told him it had taken him three days to register the company.

Other officers at the Immigration Department and Economic Crimes Unit, who met Mr Sammut in Mosta when files were retrieved from his office in August, also testified in the compilation.

Another person who took the witness stand was Joseph Saliba from the ETC, who said that regulations stipulating the capital one needed to register a business was changed from €100,000 to €500,000 at the beginning of August.

The case continues next month.

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