France’s national financial prosecutor’s office has been asked to open an investigation into whether four French-based banks and an investment fund were complicit with Electrogas in laundering the proceeds of corruption. 

Sherpa, a French association that fights financial crimes, teamed up with the Daphne Caruana Galizia foundation to file the complaint against BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Natixis, CIC and Rivage Investment for money-laundering and concealment. 

The complaint alleges that the financial institutions gave Electrogas the multi-million-euro loan despite journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s revelations about corruption surrounding the power station deal. 

Sherpa argues in the complaint that the financial institutions that gave Electrogas the loan should have flagged information in the public domain linking the deal to corruption. 

Electrogas has strongly denied any such corruption, citing an unpublished internal review that it says gives the company the all-clear. 

Caruana Galizia was assassinated in October 2017, barely two months before the loan deal with Electrogas was finalised. 

Yorgen Fenech, who was an Electrogas director at the time, is accused of being the prime suspect behind the murder.

Leaked Electrogas e-mails show there was concern prior to the loan being given that “the banks are getting nervous”, after reports in May 2017 linked 17 Black to the power station deal and potential kickbacks to former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and former Energy and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi. 

At the time, it was not known that Fenech owned 17 Black. 

According to testimony by self-confessed murder-middleman Melvin Theuma, Fenech re-activated to plot to kill the journalist in June 2017, after putting in on hold because of the general election. 

Fenech denies ordering the journalist’s killing and his lawyers claim the real masterminds are still roaming freely. 

Electrogas partners Siemens recently admitted that they pushed for Fenech’s resignation from the Electrogas board following revelations in November 2018 that he owned 17 Black.

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