The Malta Independent 17 December 2018, Monday

Watch: Deputy PM deflects questions on whether Schembri and Mizzi should resign

Monday, 12 November 2018, 14:52 Last update: about 2 months ago

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne today avoided a question on whether he thought that OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi should resign, instead saying that last week’s revelations regarding the owner of the Dubai-based company 17 Black as reported by Reuters and the Times of Malta are confirmation that Maltese institutions are working as they should.

Asked by The Malta Independent on whether he thought Schembri and Mizzi should resign, Fearne side-stepped the question totally, and said that the fact that Reuters had reported that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) had conducted a report into the matter showed that investigations into it were ongoing, and negated the arguments and allegations that Maltese authorities and institutions were doing nothing in reaction to the case.

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A joint investigation by the Times of Malta and Reuters found that Electrogas director and CEO of the Tumas Group Yorgen Fenech was the owner of 17 Black.

17 Black was listed as the 'Main Client' and 'Possible Payer/Sender' of Tillgate and Hearnville, the offshore Panamian companies owned by OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and now Tourism Minister, but then Energy Minister, Konrad Mizzi, leaked emails obtained by German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and published by the Daphne Project previously revealed.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat when asked about the new revelations said that he will wait until the inquiries related to allegations made about the company to be concluded before taking any steps.  Opposition Leader Adrian Delia meanwhile has called for action to be taken, saying that for every hour that Muscat does not take action, Malta’s reputation is damaged more and more.

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