The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Adrian Delia’s legal firm handled bond issue for subsidiary of Electrogas partner company

Helena Grech Thursday, 22 February 2018, 07:00 Last update: about 10 months ago

Opposition leader Adrian Delia has been hit by damning allegations that he has never spoken out against the shady Delimara power station project because of a conflict of interest since the law firm in which he is a shareholder has worked for Gasol, the contentious project’s former lead partner.

Publicly available documentation seen by The Malta Independent shows that the law firm in which Delia is a shareholder, Aequitas Trust and Fiduciary Limited, had been involved in raising finance for the power station’s former lead developer, Gasol, which had eventually sold its stake in the project to the other partners for an undisclosed amount in July 2015 and left the country.

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Anonymous allegations doing the rounds on Twitter allege that because of this conflict of interest, the words ‘Azerbaijan’, ‘Gasol’ and ‘Socar’ have become taboo for Delia, given his firm’s previous involvement with Gasol.

It is being claimed that Gasol was “essentially bankrupt” and “needed funding to plough ahead with the project”.

This newspaper has, however, ascertained that while Delia’s firm was indeed involved in Gasol’s bond issue, the USD23 million in financing was, at least on paper, meant to guarantee loan notes issued by Afrique Energie Corp, a Canadian-registered development company that one of Gasol’s subsidiaries has invested in.  The funds were to be used to purchase gas reserves in West Africa that required development.

And as late as February 2015, Aequitas was still involved with Gasol, according to documentation seen by this newspaper.

Later that same year, in July 2015, Gasol had exited the Electrogas consortium claiming that its mission in Malta had been completed, and its shares in the consortium were sold off to the project’s other partners - Azerbaijani state oil and gas company Socar, Siemens and Maltese consortium GEM Holdings. 

Gasol had sold off its stake for an undisclosed amount, but one which is assumed to have been worth several millions of euros.

The Electrogas transaction essentially consists of an 18-year power and gas purchase agreement between government-owned Enemalta and the privately-owned Electrogas consortium, which, following the exit of Gasol plc in July 2015, is now comprised of Socar, Siemens and the Maltese consortium GEM Holdings, each holding a 33 per cent stake.

 

Layers within layers

Following the allegations emerging yesterday morning, documents retrieved by this newspaper show that Gasol had raised funds through a bond issue using the services of a “little known broker”, Tradexec, to “‘place’ the bond issue with Gasol’s anonymous funders”.

In what appears to be a legitimate fiduciary set-up, Aequitas holds a single share in Tradexec, with the remaining shares being held by a company registered at a Valletta block of offices in South Street where Aequitas is located, called Future Capital Growth Holdings Limited.

Documentation shows how the Canadian company in which Gasol holds a stake, Afrique Energie Corp, had engaged Tradexec Ltd for the bond issue, and the publically available document shows the closing off of the bond issue in February 2015.

Tradexec is also registered at the same block of offices on South Street, Valletta.  Along with Delia’s former business partner, Georg Sapiano, fellow Aequitas director Nicolette Spiteri Bailey is also listed a shareholder of Tradexec, along with a Belgian national named Cedric Francis Frederic Joinneau.  Sapiano and Spiteri Bailey are listed as directors, legal representatives and judicial representatives of Tradexec, again indicative of a typical fiduciary set-up.

Future Capital has one share held by Aequitas, and the remaining shares are held by another company called Myholco United Holding Limited.

The layers of secrecy continue until its ultimate ownership reaches the Luxemburg- based Capunited Holdings S.A.R.L., showing that Tradexec appears to be ultimately owned by the Swiss founder of Alpstar UK. 

Taking a look at the people or entities behind Capunited, the name Nicolas Bravard appears.   Bravard, a Swiss national, has been lauded as the founder of Alpstar Capital, a European alternative asset manager.

 

Questions sent to PN leader Adrian Delia for reaction

A search on previous speeches made by Delia since he entered the political sphere came up empty when researching his statements on the Electrogas consortium and Azerbaijani involvement. It must be said that this came before his time in politics; however he has spoken out on other issues that came before his time such as the Panama Papers scandal.

A number of questions emerge from the allegations which have been levelled. This newsroom has attempted to verify the claims based on publically available information, however questions have been sent to opposition leader Adrian Delia so that he may verify, refute or explain the state of affairs. At the time of writing, the questions remain unanswered.

See The Malta Independent leader

 

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