On 24 November, the Times of Malta reported that former footballers Darren Debono and Jeffrey Chetcuti have spent the night in prison after police carried out a nationwide anti-smuggling sting operation. It also said that a well-known lawyer and an accountant were detained and sources said that they are being interrogated in connection with suspected money laundering activity. The article says that Debono was arrested in Italy in 2017, along with his business partner Gordon Debono (no relation) and Libyan militia man Fahmi Ben Khalifa; and the 3 were suspected of forming part of a multi-million euro international fuel smuggling conspiracy with ties to the Italian mafia and Libyan armed groups. In 2018, it was reported how Malta is at the centre of a well-coordinated multimillion fuel smuggling operation, with stolen Libyan fuel traded easily in territorial waters and through established storage facilities inside the Grand Harbour and Birżebbuġa.
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