A former minister who now serves as Malta's top diplomat in the UK has been accused of being involved in fuel smuggling and money laundering.

Manuel Mallia denied the claims, made by former book council head Mark Camilleri on social media on Monday. 

Camilleri is also a Labour Party delegate who however fell out with the party after it was embroiled in widespread corruption allegations.

Camilleri claimed that Mallia, now Malta’s High Commissioner to the UK, not only abetted and aided the money laundering of proceeds from Libyan contraband fuel, but was also "invested" in this black business.

"Emmanuel Mallia owned a ship along with another oil smuggler called It-Turu dedicated to his father," Camilleri wrote on Facebook.

"This ship used to go Libya and buy contraband diesel from Fahmi's mafia and in turn sell it to Malta's main bunkerers [sic] Falzon and Falzon. Also, potentially related, in 2013, Mallia used his declaration of assets to launder one million Euros.

"The government knew that Mallia was involved in this illegal business, but they made him ambassador any way, hoping no one would ever discover his shady past and that things would be quickly forgotten. How mistaken are our leaders. Emmanuel Mallia is also being investigated by the police," he added.

High Commissioner denies claims

Reacting on Monday afternoon, Mallia also took to Facebook: "what is being alleged by Mr Mark Camilleri on social media and in his publications is nothing but an invention based on myths and false allegations against me".

He "categorically" denied the allegations.

In his book A Rent Seeker’s Paradise, Camilleri wrote that Mallia met with oil smugglers when he was Home Affairs Minister, at the behest of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and assured them that the government was not interested in what went on outside Malta’s territorial waters. 

“Mallia also ensured [sic] them that the government was not going to investigate the black proceeds made outside and then laundered inside the economy,” Camilleri wrote. 

Mallia had sent Camilleri an email denying the claims in September. 

“You are therefore being requested to immediately retract those defamatory and injurious words and are formally being informed that you are being held responsible for all damages envisaged by law over this abusive and illegal behaviour against me,” the former minister had told Camilleri. 

Camilleri had responded by saying the book was already published and that Mallia should proceed with any legal action he was planning. 

Mallia has yet to take the case to the law courts.

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