The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is ramping up its investigation into a scam linked to disgraced former EU Commissioner John Dalli with a fact‐finding mission to Malta this month.
The FBI investigation, which is being carried out in tandem with the Maltese Police, centres on two companies that allegedly swindled a group of elderly American investors out of their life-savings.
The two companies – Tyre Ltd and Corporate Group – are registered at Mr Dalli’s Portomaso address and the directors and shareholders of the latter company are Mr Dalli’s two daughters, Claire Gauci Borda and Louisa Dalli, while Ms Dalli was director and accountant for the former.
The eight American investors had wired a total of $600,000 to a Maltese bank account held by Corporate Group.
Mrs Gauci Borda was interrogated and placed on police bail last year and the transcripts of the interrogation were sent straight to the FBI. Under the conditions of the police bail, she has been barred from travelling abroad without police permission and also has to make herself readily available for further questioning, an opportunity the FBI will definitely not miss during their visit to Malta. The Maltese police have also seized computers and files from a number of people involved in the alleged scam.
The FBI were asked to investigate the scam at the beginning of last year after the investors plucked up the courage to file an official complaint, despite the repeated insistence on the part of Mr Dalli’s daughters that speaking to the authorities would only lead them to lose their money.
One of the investors – Regina Hayes – told this newspaper that the instructions on how and where to wire the money were given by Mrs Gauci Borda.
Ms Hayes, who is a pensioner, wired $75,000 – her life savings – to an HSBC account in Malta and received confirmation from Ms Gauci Borda that the money had been received.
The Malta Independent on Sunday has seen various documents bearing Mrs Gauci Borda’s signature confirming the transfer of funds.
The documents bear Tyre Ltd’s letterhead, together with what is apparently the company’s slogan which reads ‘Restoring the precious things of the earth’ alongside Mr Dalli’s Portomaso address.
Once the investors realised they had been duped, Mrs Gauci Borda warned them that involving “third parties would result in everybody losing everything.
“On my part I would like to state that in the first place I empathise with your group and that is why I offered to help. Secondly, I am fed up with people trying to involve my family and me in these problems.... My father is determined to take legal action against any defamatory attempts,” Mrs Gauci Borda wrote.
Serial fraudsters being investigated
Fraudster Mary Swan, who accompanied then EU Commissioner Dalli on a number of dubious trips to the Bahamas in 2012 to discuss “charitable” investment opportunities, is also being investigated.
Ms Swan, who goes by a number of different aliases, had her Sliema apartment raided by the police in May of last year.
The Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia reported that Ms Swan had entered Malta with a false Paraguayan passport using the alias Eloisa Chihan.
She set up her base of operations in Sliema from where she ran a Ponzi scheme which is believed to have run into millions, with the money being filtered through Tyre Ltd and Corporate Group.
She duped scores of elderly Christian investors – including the eight who filed the complaint with the FBI – into handing over their savings in order to fund African miners who were supposedly unable to get financing from banks.
Shortly after Ms Swan’s apartment was searched by the police, the eight American investors received unsolicited emails from a Texan paramilitary group telling them that the Maltese police could not be trusted.
The group – Guardian Angel Professional Military Corporation – claimed to be in the process of recovering the investors’ funds, but said they were being hindered “by the corruption of files by the Malta Police.
“Luckily, our initial review of the data in Malta was closing before the local police corrupted the files in the office of the Corporate Group,” the mystery ‘guardian angels’ told the investors.
Regina Hayes told The Malta Independent on Sunday that the emails they received from the mystery outfit were clearly an attempt to isolate the investors from the police. She says that the police had been very helpful and the investors had passed on all the evidence they had about the case to them.
The Guardian Angels PMC told investors that they will not be having any further contact with the police “due to numerous concerns from the lawyers and other US agencies”.
The investors asked the group for more information about their role in the whole affair, but no reply was received.
Mr Dalli has repeatedly denied any involvement in the whole affair.