The Malta Independent 24 September 2018, Monday

Updated - EXCLUSIVE: Proof of kickbacks to Mizzi and Schembri from LNG tanker – FIAU

Friday, 26 May 2017, 20:00 Last update: about 2 years ago

Investigations by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) reveal the transfer of money from a company connected to Armada Floating Gas Services Malta, owners of the LNG tanker berthed in Marsaxlokk, to a Dubai-based company created for the purpose of transferring kickbacks to then Minister for Energy Konrad Mizzi and Prime Minister Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, The Malta Independent can reveal.

Sources told this newsroom that another 120-page report with damning evidence on Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri is under lock and key within the unit awaiting conclusion. The Malta Independent has seen extracts of this damming report that shows how investigations by the unit revealed that there were two attempts to transfer money to 17 Black from Orion Engineering group (a company registered at the same address and having the same involved parties as Armada Floating Gas Services Malta Ltd).

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The FIAU investigation has found that 17 Black is a company registered in Dubai created for the purpose of transferring money to Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri through their respective Panama companies Hearnville and Tillgate. The unit confirmed that money was transferred to 17 Black whose function was to transfer money to the Panama companies belonging to the Energy Minister at the time as well as the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff on July 23, 2015.

Furthermore, although Dr Mizzi repeatedly claimed that he never gave the go-ahead for the opening of a bank account, the FIAU discovered that he travelled to Dubai for this purpose. Dr Mizzi in fact travelled to Dubai so as to present documentation to the bank in person.

The unit also confirmed attempts to open a bank account when Dr Mizzi granted a power of attorney in which he gave absolute discretionary powers to Karl Cini and Brian Tonna of Nexia BT to carry out any actions necessary with the set up of the Trust structure which included the Panama company and related bank account. This includes the authorisation to sign all the necessary documents.

When replying to questions in front of the PANA committee, Dr Mizzi flatly denied he had authorised his financial advisors to open the bank account. He told MEPs that Nexia did not have any remit to open any bank accounts either for him or for his company.

Speaking on Xarabank, Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil said that this latest scandal showed that the level of corruption in the country had reached high levels so much so that the story as revealed by The Malta Independent indicated that the deal to bring over an LNG tanker was intended for other purposes.

Replying, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the information as revealed by this portal was incorrect, and that the Nationalist Party was once again riding on an untrue story.

 

FIAU confirms Black 17 report is not yet concluded

In a statement issued at just past midnight, the FIAU denied that there was any “conclusive report or conclusions as are being alleged”. It should be noted that the article clearly states that the report in question is still awaiting conclusion.

 

 

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