Updated at 4.30pm
The director of Malta’s fisheries department has been suspended following allegations that she demanded money off a Spanish tuna kingpin.
Andreina Fenech Farrugia was asked to step aside after phone intercepts published by Spanish news outlet El Confidencial suggested she was involved in a tuna corruption racket.
A top government source told Times of Malta that a new department director is expected to be appointed later on Tuesday. The decision was later confirmed by Environment Minister Jose Herrera.
In transcripts of telephone conversations between Andreina Fenech Farrugia and Jose Fuentes Garcia, published by El Confidencial, the Maltese fisheries boss tells Mr Fuentes “I am in Bulgaria just for you. You have to pay me, because I have a meeting with the [director] general of Brussels”.
The documents date that conversation as having taken place on June 20, 2018, when EU fisheries heads were meeting under the auspices of Bulgaria’s EU Council presidency.