The Malta Independent 23 September 2017, Saturday

Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna insists he was ultimate beneficial owner, says Egrant now dissolved

Saturday, 22 April 2017, 21:16 Last update: about 6 months ago

Nexia BT’s director Brian Tonna this evening insisted that he was the ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant Inc, a company at the centre of a political controversy after blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia said it was the PM’s wife Michelle Muscat who owned the company named in the Panama Papers scandal.

In a statement issued at 9pm this evening, Mr Tonna gave what he said was a chronological account of what happened.

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This is his statement in full:

"Egrant Inc was incorporated on the 4th of July 2013. The incorporation of a company in Panama requires two subscribers to sign the articles of incorporation before a notary public. In this case the original subscribers were Dubro Limited S.A. and Aliator S.A.

"On the 9th of July 2013, at a meeting of the Board of Directors, one (1) share was issued in favour of ATC Administrators Inc. As a result, Dubro Limited S.A. and Aliator S.A. ceased to be shareholders in the corporation. Whilst it is true that the names of both Dubro Limited S.A. and Aliator S.A. continued to appear on the public register, this does not mean that they remained shareholders after 9th July 2013: they did not. In fact, under Panamanian law, changes in shareholding are not publicly recorded, and so the public register continues to show only the original subscribers. Changes in shareholdings are only recorded in the corporation’s internal register, and they are evidenced by share certificates issued to shareholders.

"On the 9th August 2013 Brian Tonna acquired the beneficial ownership of the one share representing the whole issued share capital of the corporation. ATC Administrators Inc. remained the shareholder of this one (1) share acting on a fiduciary basis on behalf of Brian Tonna. A declaration of trust, as it is customary in these circumstances, was issued bearing the same date. A copy of this declaration, signed by the authorized representatives of ATC Administrators Inc. is attached. It is pertinent to mention that this declaration is signed and bears the registered address of the corporation in Panama. 

"From this date until its dissolution there were no further share transfers or transfers of beneficial ownership and, as also corroborated with signed declarations by the director of the corporation, Brian Tonna remained the ultimate beneficial owner of the corporation. Signed instructions by Brian Tonna, as the sole and ultimate beneficial owner, were submitted to, and accepted by, the director of Egrant Inc. to initiate the dissolution process on the 19th of January 2017, which process has now been concluded.

"No other properly signed, authentic documentation exists or ever existed. Further, as previously stated, the corporation never traded, never received any payment and never had any bank account. It follows that no documentation as is being alleged could have been presented to Pilatus Bank or indeed any other bank with the aim of opening a bank account for Egrant Inc as (allegedly) ultimately owned by Mrs Michelle Muscat. For the record, no such documentation was in fact ever presented."

 

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