Panama companies could not be audited because the jurisdiction lacked transparency, financial services law practitioner David Griscti has told the Times of Malta.

Both Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, said that audits they commissioned for their New Zealand trusts proved that their Panama companies had no bank accounts.

According to these audits, the two men actually lost money from their financial set ups, which, they insisted, were never used.

Dr Griscti, who is chairman of the Christian Democratic think-tank Ażad, said that, unlike Maltese companies where all movements in the company structures were tracked, no such requirements were necessary for Panama companies.

WATCH: Serious failures found at Pilatus Bank

Blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia claimed last week that large sums of money were transferred to Dubai accounts held by Dr Mizzi’s and Mr Schembri’s Panama companies via the Ta’ Xbiex-based Pilatus Bank.

The leaked email clearly stated that Nexia BT was trying to open bank accounts for the two companies.The leaked email clearly stated that Nexia BT was trying to open bank accounts for the two companies.

Registered in December 2013, Pilatus Bank was granted a licence to operate by the Malta Financial Services Authority in August 2015.

Mrs Caruana Galizia claimed that similar transfers were made to Egrant Inc. She has published “a declaration of trust”, which, she said, indicated that Egrant’s shares were held by Mossack Fonseca nominees for the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat.

She said the money was transferred from an account owned by Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. Dr Muscat has strongly denied that he, his wife or his children owned shares in Egrant.

E-mail exchanges in the Panama Papers show that Nexia BT did attempt to open Dubai accounts for Dr Mizzi’s and Mr Schembri’s Panama companies in August 2015.

Unlike previous attempts, this time Nexia BT did not go through Mossack Fonseca.

The process had kicked off with an e-mail sent on August 8, 2015 by Nexia BT to Mossack Fonseca. The leaked e-mails show that Nexia BT needed Mossack Fonseca to provide documentation for the Dubai accounts to be opened.

“We are in the process of opening a bank account in Dubai for two of our Panama companies. The bank is asking as [sic] for the following documents which need to be attested from the UAE Embassy of Panama. They will then attest them further in Dubai,” the opening lines of the e-mail read.

Some days later, Mossack Fonseca informed Nexia BT that no such embassy existed in Panama.

“Please note that we have offer you [sic] to legalise the documents by the Syria Embassy instead UAE Embassy as Syria is part of the United Emirates Arabs and we have a Syria Embassy in Panama.

“Unfortunately, we do not have an UAE Embassy in Panama, therefore, if you require the documents to be legalised by UAE Embassy we will send the documents to Colombia where is the nearest UAE Embassy”, the e-mail to Nexia BT read.

Following that e-mail exchange, Nexia BT requested that all the original documents, including the ownership details of the Panama companies, be sent to Maltavia by courier. Both Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri have said no accounts were ever opened for their Panama companies.

Copies of this leaked correspondence were sent to Nexia BT, along with questions on whether the Dubai accounts were opened but they declined to comment, citing client confidentially.

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