The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Minister Konrad Mizzi bought Panama company from ‘alleged fraudsters’

Tuesday, 5 April 2016, 07:53 Last update: about 6 years ago

The people behind ATC Administrators Inc, the company from which Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi purchased Hearnville in Panama, have a chequered past of their own according to online news reports in Costa Rica.

Following the revelation by ICIJ of the Panama Papers, a letter posted on the ICIJ website shows that Minister Mizzi was the ultimate shareholder of the company, yet it was held in custody by ATC Administrators until transferred to the New Zealand trust. The document was signed by Francis Perez and Leticia Montoya, as well as Konrad Mizzi.

Last February, Minister Mizzi showed the press a copy of a letter, by ATC Administrators Inc, the previous owners of Minister Mizzi’s infamous Panamanian company.

Interestingly, in the document shown to the press by Minister Mizzi, was signed by two ATC directors, Edilberto Reyes Gonzalez and Olga Londono. The ICIJ website document which was dated July 2 2015,has different signatories than the document Minister Mizzi showed journalists which was dated February 26, 2016.

Further investigation by this newsroom has revealed that in the Costa Rican press an article posted by back in 2011 about the Voyageur Foundation - a Costa Rica-based organization that was allegedly unable to return $65 million worth of investments to its Canadian members, focused on the two families who ran the foundation.

“A detailed examination of the registry documents shows that 29 of the families' 33 offshore Panamanian corporations are linked to three people behind Nicstate Development - one of several Panamanian firms used by former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman to launder some of the approximately $100 million he was convicted of embezzling during his term as Nicaraguan president from 1997 to 2002.”

“Corporate records show that three Panama-based individuals - Francis Perez, Leticia Montoya and Katia Solano - are part of the clandestine team behind Nicstate”.

Minister Konrad Mizzi did not make any reference to the fact that the people from whom he bought his Panama company had an alleged shady past or that they were under investigation.

According to controversial online news portal: Vice News, “Montoya has quite a chequered career, having previously registered or served as a nominee director for at least six anonymous companies that were involved in major international corruption scandals. Among those, there is a Panamanian shell firm called Nicstate, whose beneficial owners turned out to include former Nicaraguan president Arnoldo "Fat Man" Alemán.

Allegedly he used Nicstate and other offshore vehicles to divert nearly $100 million of State funds into his own pockets. Montoya also helped set up Mirror Development Inc., which according to news reports saw Siemens of Germany involved in an alleged scam involving Argentine government officials. The news reports also allege that this was just one component of a global scheme usingcorporate cut-outs to pay off government officials in Bangladesh, Venezuela, and Iraq, where the recipients included Saddam Hussein”.

Reports raise questions about reasons for Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi’s Panama company

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalist has a page dedicated to Energy Minister Mizzi and the documents related to the Panama Papers. The following paragraph is written, “In June 2015 Mizzi told Mossack Fonseca (the Panama firm at the heart of the whole Panama Papers situation) that he would use Hearnville as a management consultancy and brokerage firm. On this last point, Mizzi said that he filled out a ‘standard category wording that was included in a template form which was part of the company acquisition process.’"

A brokerage firm is a financial institution that facilitates the buying and selling of financial securities between a buyer and a seller.

As for management consultancy, a quick google search reveals that Management consulting is the practice of creating value for organisations, through improved performance, achieved by providing objective advice and implementing business solutions. In other words, management consultants help take organisations further than they would go on their own.

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