The Malta Independent 14 July 2024, Sunday
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Updated: Tumas Group CEO named as owner of 17 Black - reports

Friday, 9 November 2018, 12:57 Last update: about 7 years ago

A joint investigation by The Times of Malta and Reuters has found that local investigators were given an intelligence report naming Electrogas director and CEO of the Tumas Group Yorgen Fenech as the owner of 17 Black.

Tumas Group is one of the partners in the Electrogas power station. The power station had been pushed by Konrad Mizzi back when he was Energy Minister.

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 Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, leaked emails obtained by German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and published by the Daphne Project previously revealed. Keith Schembri, in reaction to the news story, said that 17 Black never became clients of his business group, The Times of Malta reported.

"17 Black and MacBridge were included in draft business plans for my business group as potential clients. My companies make dozens of business plans such as these. However, it is a fact that neither 17 Black nor MacBridge ever became clients of my business group, and no transactions were ever recorded with these companies, or with me personally. I have no knowledge of the transfers referred to, nor any knowledge of the alleged payment," Schembri had previously said.

Mizzi had also issued a denial, saying that there is no connection, direct or otherwise, between Mizzi, his company or trust, and any entity called 17 Black.

The Times of Malta reports that the intelligence report was compiled by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), and that it looks into energy projects by Mizzi.

Another source familiar with the subject in the United Arab Emirates told Reuters that account records named Fenech as 17 Black's owner. 

Reuters reported that it saw banking correspondence that summarised 17 Black's banking activity in Dubai, the Times of Malta reports, adding that the correspondence stated that when a 17 Black bank account was opened in Dubai in June 2015 at Noor bank, the company said it was owned by Yorgen Fenech.

The report reads that the name of 17 Black was changed in March 2017 to Wings Development. The Times reports that Fenech has denied having any links with the Panama companies or any politically exposed persons, and that he declined to comment on whether he owns 17 Black or Wings development.

Partit Demokratiku called for an immediate and thorough Police investigation into the 17Black allegations.

It has become undeniable that the rule of law in Malta has broken down despite the massive propaganda campaign by the Government and its network of Yes-Men in key positions.

Our rotted political system is a result of compromises and eyes being closed by entities and irresponsabile politicians.

Partit Demokratiku denounced what it described as "our decayed political system".

In another reaction, Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi challenged the Prime Minister to sue him for libel after calling him corrupt and of taking kickbacks.

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