The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating two companies linked to former minister and EU commissioner John Dalli after a group of American investors claimed that they have been swindled out of their life savings, a collective $600,000.
In May, this newspaper reported how a group of small cap investors from South Carolina, who dubbed themselves the ‘Upstate 8’, were allegedly defrauded by two companies registered at Mr Dalli’s Portomaso address: Tyre Limited and Corporate Group. The two directors and shareholders of the latter company are John Dalli’s daughters.
Regina Hayes, one of the group’s outspoken members, has informed this newspaper that the FBI has assigned an officer to the case and that she and a fellow Upstate 8 victim have already met with the FBI over the case.
The group of American Christian investors were told that their money would be used to fund African miners who were unable to get financing from the banks. By playing on their Christian sensibilities, they were led to believe that part of the funds would be used to help orphans in Africa and The Philippines.
A spokesperson for the group of defrauded investors recently told this newspaper that the investment plan was offered to them by an intermediary acting on behalf of international fraudster Mary Swan, who also goes by the aliases of Emma Corbin and Lady Bird among others.
Ms Swan is believed to have operated from a Sliema apartment for several years before leaving the country.
Ms Hayes adds that the group has also been in contact with the Maltese police and that it has been sharing information with the force which, according to Ms Hayes, has been “extremely helpful”.
Following our report on 10 May, in which it was reported that the Maltese police and the FBI had been requested to investigate the allegations, Mr Dalli filed a criminal complaint (a kwerela) against this newspaper but, to our knowledge, it has not been followed up by the police.
The Maltese police did, however, raid Ms Swan’s Sliema apartment soon after that, on 26 May, when Economic Crimes Unit officers entered the flat in the afternoon and did not leave until 10.30pm, after loading a police van with boxes of documents and computers.
A source had confirmed with this newspaper at the time that Ms Swan had been detained by police officers during the search. A number of other persons, thought to be of foreign nationality, were also investigated in connection with the scam.
The police had also confirmed with this newspaper that investigations into the case have commenced and are still in progress.
Money wired to company based in John Dalli’s office
Each of the eight investors wired their share of the money to an HSBC account owned by Corporate Group, which is operated by Mr Dalli’s daughters, Claire Gauci Borda and Louisa Dalli.
“At the time of wiring the funds, our group was under the understanding that their funds were being wired to a company known as Tyre Limited, which is located in Malta and whose business address is or was John Dalli’s personal residence. Claire Gauci Borda was [also] a director of Tyre at the time,” Mike Brady, a spokesperson for the group said in his letter to the FBI and the Maltese police requesting investigations.
The duped investors only got to know of each other after they lost their money, as one of the conditions of investing was that the investment had to be kept quiet.
Tyre Limited was the company that rented a Bahamas villa in the summer of 2012 to which Mr Dalli, then the EU’s Health Commissioner, made several undeclared trips. Mr Dalli’s other daughter, Louisa Dalli, was also a company director and accountant.
Mr Dalli rushed off to the Bahamas for a weekend in July 2012, shortly after he found out about an investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud office, Olaf, over his dealings with the tobacco lobby.
Olaf is now looking into Mr Dalli’s secret Bahamas trip, and in the course of its investigation has questioned key witnesses about Mr Dalli’s links to fraudster Mary Swan and Tyre Limited.
This was not Mr Dalli’s only trip to the Bahamas during his tenure as EU Commissioner. Mr Dalli met international fraudster Mary Swann in the Bahamas during another trip on 26-27 August 2012.
Dalli denies allegations
On his part, Mr Dalli says the allegations against him are part of the “defamatory agenda propagated by the newspapers issued by Standard Publications against me especially over the past months”.
He called the article implicating him in the scam “a conspiracy in extortion and blackmail”.
“I had absolutely nothing to do with any money transferred between people and the article tries to implicate me in an alleged criminal act. They also try to connect the trip to the Bahamas, which I never denied happened, to these allegations.
“This is an intentional dishonest distortion and invention. As were the many allegations that I rented the villa in the Bahamas myself for my family and that I was discussing investments of millions of dollars. All of which inventions have now fizzled out.
“I am seeking to also take action against these conspirators in the appropriate court in the US,” Mr Dalli said.
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An ‘Upstate 8’ update
My colleague Janie and I have gone to the FBI office and met John Dyas, who has been assigned to our case. We have been in contact with the Maltese police, sharing information as it comes to us, and they have been extremely helpful.
We are aware that we would not be where we are now, were it not for you reporting the truth and braving John Dalli’s wrath. I was ever so happy to see your response to his fear tactics in your follow up article below.
We sent our life savings to Claire Gauci Borda at Tyre Ltd. The money was wired to HSBC to an account held in the name of Corporate Group Limited. After requesting our funds to be sent back to us for 18 months, we were not willing to continue waiting, as she suggested, with no time limit, and we told her so.
Her response to us was: “Well, do what you think you have to do.” I took that as a challenge. What she failed to realise is that there is still freedom of the press. We used that to our advantage and started commenting on the articles in the newspapers. We also have been contacted by someone who is familiar with Marie Elouise Corbin, who gave us all the facts on Ms Corbin, including the names of her father and mother and where her relatives reside.
I asked her to give this information to Daphne Caruana Galizia and she posted it on her Running Commentary website. I went on Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records at Ancestry.com and verified her parents’ names to validate the information.
From the comments received, we were given hope and much more from the people of Malta. Some became the boots on the ground that did research for us in Malta. We were also led to other newspaper articles that showed there was a pattern to the madness we found ourselves in.
We know our road will not be easy; we’re not used to the easy road anyway, we’ve had to struggle for the little bit that we do have. We are all in agreement that we are up to this challenge and we will either see our money returned or we will see justice served.
There was a request from www.thewhistleblowers.org that anybody who had been victims of Marie Elouise Corbin to tell their story, and I continue to be in contact with them. I gave them the Upstate 8’s account of our struggle to get our money back, and they posted it on their website with my contact information.
Information came flooding in after sharing our story. Information on how, when and who introduced John Dalli to Marie Elouise Corbin, who later became her consultant. Corporate Group Limited's involvement in procuring a carer’s permit for the Sri Lankan friend of Marie Elouise Corbin, who she brought with her from the Thailand prison along with Charles Jackson and his wife Brenda.
We received a copy of a Gold Certificate that Ms Corbin gives out to people she wants to control. I understand many of those so-called Gold Certificates have been given to certain people in Malta. What they don’t realize is those Gold Certificates are just as fake as all the passports that she has printed whenever the need required. Once those people in Malta realise they are holding worthless Gold Certificates, they will know that they have also become her victims.
We continue to receive information and we continue to share said information with the FBI, OLAF and our Maltese police investigators.
Regina L. Hayes