The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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Schembri, Mizzi were intended owners of company with VGH procurement contract, investigators believe

Sunday, 26 May 2024, 09:24 Last update: about 18 days ago

Technoline, a company that was granted a procurement contract by Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) "was destined to be owned" by Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi, the former chief of staff of Joseph Muscat and a former minister respectively, MaltaToday says investigators who delved into the vitals deal believe.

MaltaToday on Sunday published the Vitals inquiry. The newspaper said that from July 2015 onwards, Schembri and Mizzi along with other associates were intended to own Gateway Solutions, while Technoline would enjoy exclusive supply of medical equipment with Vitals.

"We found evidence that a mechanism involving offshore companies and nominees was constructed to enable Ivan Vassallo to appear to be the owner of the Technoline Group," a part of the magisterial inquiry reads. It goes on to read that "It is clear from Ivan Vassallo's handwritten notes that he understood the concealed owners would include 'K' and 'K' and the contextual evidence in our opinion makes clear that these were Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. The other concealed owners who also took a role in advising Vassallo were Schembri's business associates Adrian Hillman and Pierre Sladden," part of the inquiry reads.

MaltaToday reports that the companies used a Jersey offshore called Vitals Procurement Ltd (VPL) to issue a convertible loan note agreement for €5 million to Gateway.

The inquiry reads that "Using VPL created the pretence that it was private investor funds that were being used to finance the loan to Gateway however, the funds originated from Vitals Global Healthcare Management (VGHM) which effectively meant that the Maltese taxpayer had loaned Ivan Vassallo's Gateway the funds with which it acquired Technoline."

"Concealing Gateway Technoline's ownership through the use of third-party nominee shareholders and private shareholder agreements placed sufficient distance between Schembri and Mizzi while they were still able to directly influence GOM policy and decision making."

MaltaToday reports that investigators believe the plan was for VGH to only 'virtually' acquire Gateway, and that the Gateway and Technoline ownership would not be correctly recorded within the Malta Business Registry.

It read that Vitals Global Healthcare Management Ltd paid just over €5m in February and April 2017, which was funded almost entirely from money provided by the government of Malta for the operation of the hospitals concession. That same year, it reads, Technoline's annual turnover increased by 20%, or around €2 million, thanks to the VGH exclusive supply agreement.

 


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