Businessmen Mark Gasan and Paul Apap Bologna, both key players in the controversial ElectroGas deal, will testify before the public inquiry looking into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia today.
Over 200,00 sensitive ElectroGas documents had been leaked to Caruana Galizia in the months leading up to her murder. Matthew Caruana Galizia has suggested that the news that Fenech owns the Dubai company 17 Black, could have resulted in ElectroGas defaulting on government-guaranteed loans worth €600 million, which would have triggered a major economic crisis.
The ElectroGas consortium was selected to build and operate the LNG power station in Delimara back in October 2013, with a deal eventually signed in April 2015 and the project inaugurated two years later.
One of the Labour Party’s main pledges ahead of the 2013 general election, the power station was sold to the public as a way of producing clean energy and improving electricity generation efficiency, allowing the government to significantly slash tariffs.
However, the deal itself has raised eyebrows for several years, especially after the Daphne Project revealed in 2018 that ElectroGas was using one of its partners, Socar, as a middleman, when purchasing LNG, instead of purchasing directly at source.
The Guardian estimated that Socar is paying Shell around $113 million a year for LNG and then selling it to Electrogas for $153 million – pocketing a tidy $40 million in the process. Electrogas then sells the LNG to Enemalta for the same price of $153 million and the gas is then converted into electricity and distributed around Malta.
Energy experts have questioned the logic behind this agreement, arguing that Maltese taxpayers would have stood to save tens of millions of euro had Enemalta agreed to purchase LNG directly from Shell.
The Gasan Group owns a third of GEM Holdings, a joint venture of Maltese companies which owns a third of ElectroGas, along with Azeri state energy company Socar and German conglomerate Siemens.
Besides the Gasans, the joint venture also includes the Tumas Group, the Apap Bologna family and a separate company owned solely by Yorgen Fenech, the former Tumas Group CEO who has been charged with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Gasan has recently said they are “mortified” by the links between the murder and the controversial deal, pledging to seek an exit strategy from the agreement. Apap Bologna remains faithful in the project, backing an internal review of the deal.
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