Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi have both failed to answer direct questions about who owns 17 Black, the “target client” of their Panama companies.
A leaked report by the government’s anti-money-laundering agency found that $1.6 million (€1.3 million) was transferred to the Dubai-based 17 Black in 2015.
In a statement last week, Mr Schembri, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, said 17 Black was included in “draft business plans” for his business group as a potential client.
I was not aware any discussions were held with the businessmen who won the bid
Asked by the Times of Malta to state who owns 17 Black, seeing that the owners were, by his own admission, a “potential client”, Mr Schembri failed to answer.
Leaked e-mails obtained by the Daphne Project’s German partner Süddeutsche Zeitung show that Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi’s Panama companies were prepared to receive €150,000 monthly from 17 Black and another “target client” called Macbridge.
Questions sent to Dr Mizzi, the Tourism Minister, about the ownership of 17 Black have not been answered either. He maintains he had no direct or indirect link to 17 Black.
According to the leaked report drafted by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, investigators did not manage to uncover information about those behind 17 Black and Macbridge.
Investigators traced a $1.4 million payment to 17 Black from a Seychelles company owned by an Azerbaijani national. A further $200,000 payment was wired to 17 Black by Orion Engineering, a company owned by the local agent for the tanker that supplies gas to the power station.
The FIAU delved into all the energy deals involving Dr Mizzi, the public face of Labour’s flagship project to build the new gas-fired power station
In its extensive report, which was still awaiting finalisation when it was leaked, the FIAU delved into all the energy deals involving Dr Mizzi, the public face of Labour’s flagship project to build the new gas-fired power station. He handled such projects even after he had lost his health and energy portfolios in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks.
The bid to build the gas-fired power station was won by the Electrogas consortium, consisting of local businessmen from the Tumas Group, the Gasan Group and medical group CP Holdings. The international consortium partners are Azerbaijan’s State-owned energy company, Socar, and German firm Siemens.
Labour has always denied striking a deal on the matter before the election.
Asked by the Times of Malta whether any talks were ever held with the local businessmen who won the bid for the project, Dr Mizzi said he “was not aware that any such discussions were held”.
The FIAU also delved into the €320 million part sale of Enemalta to Chinese, State-owned Shanghai Electric Power. It found that one of the deal negotiators, Cheng Chen, was set to receive “€1 million” through a British Virgin Islands company set up by Nexia BT. It had been the same audit firm that had set up the Panama companies for Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi.
It was also discovered that Nexia BT’s money-laundering reporting officer, Karl Cini, had facilitated the process for Mr Chen to open a bank account for his BVI company at Pilatus Bank, which is based in Ta’ Xbiex.
According to the leaked report, no money transfers were ever effected to the account following “adverse media reports”
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