The Malta Independent 22 September 2020, Tuesday

17 Black made €4.6 million profit from Enemalta’s purchase of Montenegro wind farm - report

Friday, 19 June 2020, 14:02 Last update: about 4 months ago

17 Black, the Dubai company owned by Yorgen Fenech, made a profit of €4.6 million from Enemalta's purchase of a windfarm in Montenegro, according to an investigation by Reuters and Times of Malta.

Fenech stands charged with being a mastermind in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who had written extensively about the controversial Montenegro deal that involved former energy minister Konrad Mizzi.

17 Black made the profit in December 2015. "In that same month, accountants for Mizzi and the prime minister's then chief of staff, Keith Schembri, wrote in an email that Schembri and Mizzi stood to receive payments from 17 Black for services that weren't specified, the report says.

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Mizzi had previously said he had no connection with 17 Black and insisted that he had brokered the deal as energy minister.

Reuters said it has found no evidence that 17 Black made the payments to Schembri and Mizzi.

The Mozura windfarm project was launched in 2010. A Spanish company, Fersa Renovables, had won the concession to build and run the facility. It has since merged with another Spanish company, Audax Renovables.

The Maltese government announced in November 2015 that it was acquiring the project through Enemalta.

Records show, however, that, on 10 December, Fersa sold its 99% interest in Mozura to an intermediary, a Seychelles-registered company called Cifidex Ltd. The remaining 1% of shares, held by a local Montenegrin company, were also sold to Cifidex.

Cifidex paid €2.9 million for the Mozura shares. Two weeks later, it sold the shares to Enemalta - for €10.3 million.

Audax did not provide any information about the ownership of Cifidex, but said it sold off the project because it was "non-strategic."

Enemalta had not answered questions sent to it by the time of publication.

Sources told the investigation that Cifidex had borrowed the €3 million used to buy the shares from 17 Black. "After Cifidex sold the shares to Enemalta, it repaid the €3 million to 17 Black, plus an additional €4.6 million "profit share," these sources said.

Reuters said it could not determine what 17 Black did with this profit.

The information about the transactions between Cifidex and 17 Black was confirmed by another two sources with access to information about 17 Black's Dubai bank account.

One source also told Reuters that Cifidex is owned by by Turab Musayev, an executive of SOCAR Trading.

Musayev and Fenech were both involved in the Electrogas consortium, which built the new gas-fired power station at Delimara.

"As you will imagine, our client knew nothing, suspected nothing, and had no reason to believe Mr Fenech had any involvement in this atrocity," Musayev's law firm told Reuters.

Lawyers for Fenech said they did not wish to comment yet on the matter.

SOCAR Trading told Reuters it had no involvement in or knowledge of the Mozura scheme and no knowledge of 17 Black. The company said it had employed Musayev as a consultant "allowing him to conduct business outside his official duties."

Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi told Reuters they were not aware that Musayev, 17 Black or Fenech were connected to the wind farm project.

Schembri did not respond.

Muscat told Reuters: "My role was to foster relations with the government of Montenegro at Presidential and Prime Ministerial level, as was my duty as Prime Minister."

He said that, to his knowledge, Schembri was not involved in negotiations for the project.

 


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