The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

'Prime Minister should publish CapitalOne inquiry immediately' – Beppe Fenech Adami

Kevin Schembri Orland Sunday, 26 February 2017, 10:31 Last update: about 2 months ago

PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami has told The Malta Independent on Sunday that the Prime Minister should publish the CapitalOne inquiry immediately, and accused the Prime Minister of withholding the inquiry to try and use it "in his favour at an opportune time".

The inquiry was submitted to the Prime Minister last Monday but so far has not seen the light of day, at least as far as the public is concerned.

A board of inquiry made up of three former judges had been tasked to look at allegations, and investigate why police failed to pursue an investigation into money laundering by an international firm when the name of a Maltese politician, Beppe Fenech Adami, cropped up as a director of a company linked to CapitalOne.

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The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said earlier this week that since the investigation affected important institutions in the country, it will be analysed before it is published. The OPM did not say whether parts of the report will be redacted, or when, exactly, the report will be published.

It was previously reported that Baltimore Fiduciary Services Ltd (in which Beppe Fenech Adami was a director) acted as the nominee company which held CapitalOne's shares. Maltese police were meant to be looking into the banking transactions of CapitalOne in response to a call for assistance by the Dutch police. It was also reported that the Dutch police were frustrated that Maltese police did not pass on all evidence connected to banking transactions by CapitalOne.

Dr Fenech Adami had previously declared in his deposition that he had not formed part of the country's executive and had not been a minister or Parliamentary Secretary between 2008 and 2013. He said that in 2010 he was appointed by the Prime Minister as Parliamentary Assistant in the Ministry for the Interior.

This, he said, was a parliamentary appointment, not an executive one, "and at no time during this appointment did I exercise any sort of executive power". It had been previously reported that Dr Fenech Adami was a non-executive director of the fiduciary services company Baltimore in 2008, when he served as legal adviser. It was also reported that he stayed on as director when Richard Abdilla Castillo acquired the firm, and then resigned on 17 January, 2014.

Dr Fenech Adami told the PANA Committee in Malta earlier this week that he had no problem with them asking Europol to investigate the CapitalOne case, after S&D MEP Ana Gomes, who is also vice-chair of the PANA Committee, posed the question to him. This was confirmed by both Dr Fenech Adami and by Ms Gomes.

Dr Fenech Adami told this newsroom that "The only time the Europol matter was raised was when S&D MEP Ana Gomes asked if I would have any problems with the issue being raised with Europol to investigate the matter. I told her that I had no problem with that, as it was not me who is under investigation, but rather that the allegations are that the Maltese police or the Attorney General did not pursue certain requests made by the Dutch police. The inquiry itself is not about me, and this shows in the terms of reference. It was setup under the Inquiries Act, and this type of inquiry can only examine the actions of public entities. Members of Parliament are not deemed public officials as per the Constitution.

"The inquiry should be determining the action, or inaction of the police and the Attorney General's office according to the terms of reference. I insist the inquiry be published ASAP."

'PM withholding inquiry to try and use it at an opportune time' - Beppe Fenech Adami

Dr Fenech Adami said he is sure the Prime Minister is withholding the publication of the inquiry to try and use it in his favour at an opportune time. "His first responsibility is to publish the inquiry and then he can follow up on anything being recommended in the said inquiry."

Asked whether he should temporarily resign as PN Deputy Leader until the inquiries are concluded, he said no, stating that he is not being investigated but rather the police and the Attorney General's office.

He stressed that he was a director of Baltimore Fiduciary Services, and not of CapitalOne. He said that Baltimore had offered its services to a number of companies including CapitalOne. "To be honest, the allegations made in the MaltaToday article on the issue reads that there was nothing which points to irregularities on my part. At no point did they point the guns at me. They said that I was a director in a company which was a director in another company which allegedly had some contact with this Dutch person, and there were some Dutch police inquiries regarding some transactions."

MEP Ana Gomes, speaking to this newsroom, explained that she found the whole CapitalOne suspicious. "I found it strange that he (Beppe Fenech Adami) said he knew nothing about the case given that he was a director, and his position at the time as a Parliamentary Assistant for Home Affairs." She said that the Dutch authorities were not able to complete their investigation due to the Maltese authorities not forwarding the data requested.

The terms of reference of the Maltese inquiry read that the inquiring Board's focus should be on the original newspaper article allegations, but not limited to allegations that the Maltese authorities withheld information requested by the Dutch authorities, the allegations that the local authorities failed to cooperate with their Dutch counterparts, allegations that there were a number of companies, some of which conducted suspicious financial activity in Malta, and to investigate allegations that there were public institutions which failed to investigate illicit financial activity or transactions.  


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