A plea deal with one of the suspects in the 2010 HSBC heist was not reached to benefit minister Carmelo Abela, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Friday.

Replying to Times of Malta questions about whether suspect Darren Debono could implicate Abela in the heist, the prime minister said he “categorically denies” the plea deal was designed to protect minister Abela.

Robert Abela commenting about the HSBC plea deal.

Abela, who worked in HSBC’s security centre at the time of the heist, was last year implicated in the heist though he categorically denies any wrongdoing.

Vince Muscat, one of the suspects who hinted at Abela’s involvement, last year had a presidential pardon to tell all about the heist turned down by cabinet.

Instead, in an eleventh-hour deal, fellow suspect Darren Debono was jailed for 10-and-a-half years in exchange for a guilty plea and testimony against Muscat.

It is not known if Debono has also offered up information about other suspects involved in the crime.

As part of the deal, Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg agreed to drop attempted homicide charges against Debono, sparking an angry reaction by the Malta Police Union.

Debono was alleged to have been one of the suspects who opened fire on police officers responding to the raid on HSBC’s Qormi cash centre.  

The prime minister on Friday criticised the “unjust attack” on Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg in the wake of the plea deal.

Abela said he as full faith in the Attorney General, and her decision will come to fruition as the HSBC case proceeds.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us