Fuel trader Gordon Debono is contemplating legal action against the government after accusing them of backtracking on a declaration in court that Malta did not intend to push further for international sanctions against him.

Mr Debono’s lawyer Robert Montalto filed a judicial note stating that the authorities were in contempt of court for their intention to “go back upon their sworn declaration”.

Dr Montalto said they would be reserving the right to take further legal action, including that of seeking to revoke a decree passed last Monday which had lifted a prohibitory injunction against the authorities. 

The legal battles centre on a request Malta filed with the United Nations Security Council to introduce international sanctions against Mr Debono and two of his associates, former footballer Darren Debono and Libyan businessman Fahmi Bin Khalifa.

All three are suspected of running a major oil smuggling operation. 

That petition to the UN was stalled by a last-minute intervention by Russia, putting the matter on hold.

Mr Debono had subsequently sought - and ultimately obtained - a warrant of prohibitory injunction against the Prime Minister and the Foreign Affairs Minister.

The injunction sought to stop Maltese authorities from seeking any further action against Mr Debono "at present" in “any forum”, be it national or international and “particularly before the United Nations Security Council, though not exclusively so.”

A court provisionally upheld the injunction on July 18 but it was lifted last Monday after a sanctions monitoring board representative confirmed under oath a declaration made by the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister that government would not be pressing for action against Gordon Debono in “any forum”.

One day later, the Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a press release insisting that the declaration did not mean that Malta was ruling out action against the two Debonos in the future. 

“There was absolutely no change in direction in the potential issuance of sanctions against Gordon Debono and Darren Debono with the United Nations,” the Ministry said.

The sworn declaration had been made “to explain that the elements for the issuance of a warrant of prohibitory injunction did not subsist” the press release read, adding that government did not rule out any action in the future.