The Malta Independent 9 December 2018, Sunday

'We do not have anything to do with 17 Black' - Electrogas consortium members

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 15 November 2018, 10:09 Last update: about 24 days ago

Maltese and German members of the Electrogas Delimara power station consortium have distanced themselves from 17 Black, and representatives of both Maltese companies say they do not know who owns Macbridge.

This newsroom contacted Gasan Group CEO Mark Gasan and CP Holdings director and shareholder Paul Apap Bologna, which both form part of GEM Holdings (part of the Electrogas consortium), as well as German company Siemens, who also forms part of the consortium.

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It was recently reported that director and CEO of the Tumas Group Yorgen Fenech, who is a director and shareholder in the Electrogas consortium, is the owner of 17 Black. Electrogas runs the gas power station. Reuters and Times of Malta had broken the recent revelations on 17 Black regarding Yorgen Fenech on Friday.

17 Black and Macbridge were listed as the 'Main Clients' and 'Possible Payers/Senders' of Tillgate and Hearnville, the offshore Panamanian companies owned by OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, leaked emails obtained by German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and published by the Daphne Project, showed. In reaction to the news story, Schembri had said that 17 Black never became clients of his business group.  Mizzi had also previously said that there is no connection, direct or otherwise, between him, his company or trust, and any entity called 17 Black.

The Electrogas consortium is made up of Siemens, SOCAR (an Azerbaijan state-owned company), and a collection of Maltese investors known as GEM Holdings, of which Tumas Energy Ltd,  Gasan Enterprises Ltd  and CP Holdings Ltd form part of.

Mark Gasan, who is also listed as a Director of GEM Holdings on the Malta Financial Services Authority Website, was contacted by The Malta Independent yesterday. This newsroom asked Gasan whether he was aware of Yorgen Fenech’s reported ownership of 17 Black prior to the release of the news reports. Gasan said that he was not aware, and is “just seeing what I saw in the media.”

Asked whether he is looking into the situation and considering re-evaluating their position in the consortium as a result of this, Gasan said: “We do not have anything to do with 17 Black. There is no connection whatsoever between Gasan and 17 Black.”

Told that this newsroom was referring to the Electrogas consortium, Gasan stressed that he is not a director of the Electrogas company, and does not have direct involvement. This newsroom highlighted that GEM Holdings is a part of Electrogas, and asked whether Gasan is re-evaluating its position within the consortium as a result of the recent news. “There is information out there and we will be trying to understand. We know probably as much as you.”

Asked whether he is investigating the matter, he said he has no comment to make on this.

Gasan reiterated again that as a group they have no relation whatsoever to 17 Black. “There is no connection.”

Asked about the connection to the Electrogas consortium, he said: “17 Black has been linked to Electrogas and I am not really understanding the link. People can speculate but I am not seeing how Electrogas is linked to 17 Black, there is no connection either.”

Asked whether Gasan knows who owns a company called Macbridge, and whether Gasan has any business with said company, he said: “No I don’t know who owns Macbridge and no we never did any business with this company. There is no connection whatsoever.”

This newsroom also contacted Paul Apap Bologna, who is both a director and shareholder of CP Holdings Ltd and a director of GEM Holdings. He said that he did not know of Fenech’s reported ownership of 17 Black prior to the news articles, however said that he had no further comments to make on this issue at this stage. He also said that he did not have any business with a company called 17 Black.

Asked if he has any knowledge of a company called Macbridge, he said that the only knowledge he has is from what was written in the press.  Pressed again and asked if he knows the owner or has business links, he said no.

Asked whether, given the revelations, he is investigating the issue or re-evaluating his position within the consortium, he said: “This is an internal matter, and obviously internally it will take its due course. Things have to happen as they happen.” This newsroom asked what he meant by that, to which he said “We will have our internal discussions.”

Asked whether he can say for certain that there was no wrongdoing in the Electrogas deal by any of the partners, he said: “As far as I know there has been absolutely nothing wrong that has been done.” He also said that he cannot see any connection between Electrogas and any wrongdoing.

Electrogas consortium partner Siemens, a German company, told The Malta Independent that it is monitoring the situation in Malta “very closely” after recent revelations with regard to a company named 17 Black.

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