Malta fishing director suspended over alleged tuna bribery

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-13 03:19:12|Editor: yan
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VALLETTA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The director general of Malta's Fisheries Department has been suspended after she was named in a Spanish investigation into illegally caught bluefin tuna.

On Tuesday, Spanish publication El Confidencial published transcripts of phone conversations between Malta's Fisheries Department Director Andreina Fenech Farrugia and Spanish tuna kingpin, Jose Fuentes Garcia.

Fenech Farrugia categorically denied any wrongdoing, insisting that she had always employed the highest standards of diligence and professionalism in her work.

Despite strict quotas governing the Bluefin tuna industry, the Spanish investigation has shown how many more tonnes of fish were declared and authorized in farms operating from Malta. The estimated value of this illegal trade is 25 million euros.

It has been alleged that Fenech Farrugia would use her influence to regularize the catches in order for them to be exported to foreign markets.

Clint Camilleri, Malta's parliamentary secretary responsible for fisheries pledged Malta's full collaboration in the investigations.

In a subsequent statement issued by Malta's environment ministry, it was stated that police had requested assistance from Europol in order to be provided with information available to Spanish investigators. A magisterial inquiry has also been appointed, the ministry said.