US helps Malta crack phone of alleged crypto scammer and kidnapper

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US federal authorities are assisting Maltese police in building a case against businessman Luke Milton, accused of stealing up to $700,000 worth in cryptocurrency from a Maltese victim.

Authorities believe Milton, currently out on bail on unrelated charges of kidnapping, convinced a man over lunch to hand over his phone to help them invest in crypto. Instead, he allegedly transferred the man’s tokens into his own wallet.

Milton has since been arrested. Malta’s police force confiscated his phone and sent it to US federal authorities to make use of their expertise and technical equipment in order to access the wallet. This isn’t the first time the US has assisted the island nation in police investigations — the murder of Daphne Galizia required their technical skills, as well.

Milton has deep ties with Christian Borg, well-known in Maltese media due to his business dealings with current prime minister Robert Abela. Milton represented car-leasing and sale company No Deposit Cars, owned by Borg, and owns several car-leasing companies himself.

  • Milton and Borg amassed millions of euros in unexplained wealth in their early twenties.
  • Both are accused of laundering their illicit gains into car-leasing companies.
  • No Deposit Cars has recently been sued by customers who allege fraud and theft.

Read more: Malta lawyer investigated over bitcoin sent to alleged murderer of Daphne Galizia

Before he was prime minister, Abela purchased a plot of land that received development permits for a block of apartments under Borg’s name, while Abela still owned the land. Eventually, he sold it to Borg and netted a profit of €45,000 ($50,000).

The Maltese government and the Labour Party have also been accused of covering up for Borg and his business associates. Former Labour Party employee Joseph Camenzuli was appointed director of No Deposit Cars when Borg gave up the role due to current legal problems. Recently, a government-awarded tender to No Deposit Cars to chauffeur the judiciary was also rejected by the courts.

Both Milton and Borg are currently out on bail.

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