The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has appointed Adrian Hillman to manage its reputation despite the fact that he is currently the subject of a magisterial inquiry on claims of money laundering.

Sources close to the MGA confirmed to Times of Malta that Mr Hillman has been doing this job at the government agency for the past two years as a result of a direct order given to him on the instructions of the Office of the Prime Minister.

This was confirmed earlier this week through the Malta Government Gazette, in which details about Mr Hillman’s direct order were revealed.

According to the government publication, Mr Hillman, the former managing director of Allied Newspapers, is being paid €48,000 a year from public coffers to give the MGA consultancy for “strategic communication services, reputation management and public relations”.

MGA sources said that Mr Hillman is rarely seen at the authority and has no office at the organisation. They also said that Mr Hillman has been living in the US for long periods of time.

If he works, he does this remotely

“If he works, he does this remotely,” a senior official said.

Asked to state how the MGA expects to manage its reputation through the services of a person who is facing money laundering accusations, a spokesman for the MGA did not reply. Instead, the spokesman confirmed that Mr Hillman is spending much of his time abroad.

“Mr Hillman had duly notified the MGA with his temporary travelling plans, which in no way had interfered with his ability to fulfill his contractual obligations.

His appointment is in line with procurement regulations and has thus obtained the necessary approvals,” the government agency’s spokesman said.

Mr Hillman, 54, 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 the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Kith Schembri and Tourism Minster Konrad Mizzi.

The leaks also revealed transactions of some €650,000 between Mr Hillman’s secret bank accounts and those associated with Keith Schembri.

A financial services company owned by Matthew Pace – the Planning Authority board member at the centre of the db project controversy – was also involved in investing hundreds of thousands in funds for Mr Hillman.

An FIAU investigation on the dealings between Mr Hillman and the Prime Minis- ter’s right-hand man found that there was “reasonable suspicion” that Mr Schembri was involved in money laundering activities after transferring hundreds of thousands to Mr Hillman.

The two deny any wrongdoing but two separate magisterial inquiries opened two
years ago on the FIAU findings have still not been concluded.

Documents show that Adrian Hillman owned secret companies in the British Virgin Islands, similar to the ones set up in Panama by Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna for the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minster Konrad Mizzi.

The FIAU findings have still not been concluded.

Apart from the MGA contract, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat last year appointed Mr Hillman as his representative on the Board of Trustees at the American University of Malta.

During the official inauguration of the Cospicua University in March, Dr Muscat said that he had “no problem with Mr Hillman”.

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