The Malta Independent 19 November 2018, Monday

PN claims Delia ‘never knew’ about Gasol bond issue, denies conflict of interest

Thursday, 22 February 2018, 17:10 Last update: about 10 months ago

The Nationalist Party (PN) has responded to claims surfacing about its leader Adrian Delia and a possible conflict of interest he has, rendering him unable to speak out about the shady Delimara power station deal.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the PN said the “deceitful” stories suggesting any conflicts of interest are unfounded, and that nobody could muzzle Delia.

The PN called any suggestion otherwise a “malicious fabrication”.

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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.

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.

The PN has refuted any assertion that Delia could not speak out about the Delimara deal and went on to explain that the services described when opposition leader was a full-time lawyer are perfectly legitimate and standard.

“In Malta there are hundreds of trusts which are according to law, legal and legitimate. Aequitas Trust is just one of them. This trust has one share in each company that owns Tradexec, a company which gives services to Gasol plc among others. Anybody licensed with the MFSA carries out their duties in accordance with this standard practice. Such a licence is granted after a rigorous due diligence process. Aequitas Trust passed this due diligence process like other professional companies.”

The statement goes on to say:

“The truth is, contrary to the impression that could have been given, Adrian Delia was never on the board of the company Tradexec, which gave its services to raise finance for Gasol, which is why Delia did not know about the bond issue in the name of Gasol”.

The statement continued to read that Delia has no conflict, and that nobody would be able to muzzle him from “criticising that which is wrong”.

“The proof has already been shown when Delia filed a court case against Vitals, motions in Parliament and called for the resignation of the Police Commissioner”.

“Before Adrian Delia entered into politics, he, as a private person, was part of a company of lawyer who offered legitimate and licensed services to several citizens and private companies. Legitimate, honest and licensed work of professionals should never be an excuse to prohibit any citizen from entering politics,” the statement concluded.

This newspaper has 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, through its services to Tradexec.

It must be stressed that The Malta Independent never said or implied that Delia was on the board of Tradexec, but described how Georg Sapiano, Delia’s outgoing law partner at Aequitas, together with the third partner Nicollette Spiteri Bailey, are registered directors, legal representatives and judicial representatives of Tradexec. Tradexec is also registered at the same block of offices as Aequitas, on South Street, Valletta. 

Despite repeatedly stressing that Delia has no conflict of interest, and that nobody would muzzle the Opposition leader, the statement failed to comment on the Delimara power station deal. The PN, under different leadership, had harshly criticised it due to the secrecy behind the power purchase rate of fuel procured and the involvement of Azerbaijan through Socar, its state fuel company. Gasol, Socar and Siemens were part of the 18-year long Electrogas consortium for the Delimara power station deal.

Read today’s editorial on the issue here.

Read the original story here.

 

 

 

 

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