Concerns of a possible conflict of interest between Keith Schembri and the newly-opened Crane Currency were dismissed by the Prime Minister.
Answering journalists’ questions following a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the currency-printing facility, which officially opened its doors this afternoon, Dr Muscat said Mr Schembri was his chief of staff while Crane Currency was a private company.
“The company, in which Mr Schembri has no involvement but is a shareholder, supplies printing machines like these to similar companies all over the world. There is no involvement or conflict of interest,” Dr Muscat said.
When the Prime Minister had first announced that Crane Currency would be setting up shop in Malta, questions were raised on the involvement of Mr Schembri, since Dr Muscat had singled him out for his involvement as “the catalyst” behind the deal.
Privately, Mr Schembri owns Kasco Group, the main provider of printing paper and machinery on the island, among other activities.
Pressed about claims that Mr Schembri might be benefitting from major deals he helped facilitate, Dr Muscat said this was not a public-private partnership but a private company. He added that all the work done by the government was not for anyone’s personal gain but for the benefit of the people.
Addressing those present, Dr Muscat said the opening of the currency-printing facility at Ħal Far marked an important occasion and it was no surprise the company had managed to employ so many workers in such a short time.
He added that this was also a testament to the solid relationship Malta had with the US.
The announcement that Crane Currency will be building a new plant in Malta, employing some 300 workers, had been made by the Prime Minister late in 2015.
Since then, Crane Currency changed hands for $800 million, with a new company, Crane Co Inc. acquiring Crane Currency and all its plants around the world.
On this, the Prime Minister said that the government was “duly informed” of all developments and had approved also the sale.
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