Paul Apap Bologna has resigned as the Maltese representative on the Electrogas consortium’s board after he was outed as the owner of a secret company in the United Arab Emirates.

The local shareholders in the project agreed that Apap Bologna’s position on the Electrogas board was no longer tenable in view of the revelations.

However, he remains as a director and shareholder of GEM Holdings, the umbrella company for the local shareholders in the Electrogas project.

Times of Malta exposed earlier in May how Apap Bologna set up an offshore company called Kittiwake in parallel with 17 Black, the UAE company owned by fellow Electrogas investor Yorgen Fenech.

17 Black has been at the centre of a murder and corruption scandal as Fenech faces charges of ordering journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination in October 2017.

Apap Bologna’s Kittiwake features in a money-laundering investigation centering on 17 Black and the Panama companies once owned by former government officials Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.

Apart from Apap Bologna’s CP holdings, the other local shareholders in the project include Tumas Group and Gasan Group, with the latter having signalled their intent to pull out of the project.

The local shareholders in the consortium will now have to nominate another director to sit on the Electrogas board.

Apap Bologna had replaced Fenech as an Electrogas director following his dramatic arrest over the journalist’s murder in November 2019.

The medicinal importer told Times of Malta last September that he “has faith” in the Electrogas project.

Apap Bologna has so far refused to answer any questions about Kittiwake, invoking his right to remain silent about the company during a Public Accounts Committee hearing this week.

Documents reviewed by Times of Malta show Kittiwake was set up in the Ajman free zone as an offshore company in July 2015, two months after Fenech established 17 Black in the same region.  

Both Kittiwake and 17 Black operated bank accounts out of the UAE. 

In February 2017, just days before journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia first mentioned 17 Black in a blog post, Kittiwake wired $200,000 to 17 Black’s sister company Wings Investments.  

Five days before the Kittiwake transfer, another company of interest to investigators, EN3 Projects, wired $300,000 to Wings Investments.  

17 Black’s name was changed to Wings Development a month after the transfers. 

Fenech told Noor Bank during a later review of Wings Investments’ account that he was involved in a project with EN3 in Qatar and Bangladesh, with the help of Kittiwake owner Apap Bologna.

He said the $200,000 payment received from Kittiwake was a refund for an overpayment he [Fenech] had mistakenly made to Apap Bologna’s company.

Apap Bologna told the public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s murder last October that he had no knowledge of Fenech’s plans to replicate the Electrogas project in Bangladesh.  

He also claimed to have no knowledge about Fenech’s ownership of 17 Black, even after Times of Malta outed the link in November 2018. 

“It was a media accusation, not a fact,” Apap Bologna said of 17 Black.

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