Electrogas defaulting on a major €600 million government-guaranteed loan and triggering a collapse in the government’s credit rating could be a motive behind the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, her son has hinted in a social media post.
Writing on social media following the testimony of the permanent secretary at the Finance Ministry, Alfred Camilleri, in a public inquiry related to the murder, Matthew Caruana Galizia published documents describing the bridge-loan as a “serious and urgent matter”.
Daphne and her son were working on an extensive Electrogas leak at the time of her murder, with the reveal that director and main suspect Yorgen Fenech was the owner of 17 Black hot on their tail.
If their investigations continued, Caruana Galizia said, Electrogas would have failed compliance tests by banks and would have gone into liquidation.
“The default on the €600 million loans would have triggered a collapse in the government’s credit rating, because the government was liable, through the government guarantee”.
“The government would have been unable to pay off the skyrocketing interest on its other loans, and the government of Malta would have been in default, reduced to Argentinian status, and without a power station.”
“What greater motive would the people involved have needed to commit murder?” he said.
Earlier today, Camilleri insisted that he was concerned about the issuing of the bank guarantee to the Electrogas consortium.
However, the email exchange with various stakeholders like then-Minister Konrad Mizzi shows that Camilleri requested an urgent meeting on the issue.
It’s since been revealed that there was even a €28,000 party to celebrate the loan extension at Level 22, the club on the top floor of Fenech’s Portomaso Tower.
The 138-person guest list was filled with illustrious figures, including former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his wife Michelle, Charlene Farrugia Bianco and Neville Gafa.
Fenech was one of three ElectroGas directors and a principal shareholder. The 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.
Azeri state energy company Socar, who is a shareholder in Electrogas, purchases gas from standard suppliers like Shell and resells the stock at a benchmarked value to Electrogas, who transports the gas in liquid form and held in a tanker nestled in Delimara Bay.
It is then converted to energy and distributed among homes in Malta.
The 18-year deal has always raised eyebrows, with Malta often paying a higher rate than most European counterparts, all while analysis indicates that Socar made close to €32 million in 2017 alone.
Meanwhile, Caruana Galizia herself honed in on the fact that the Maltese government had guaranteed a €360 million loan taken out by Electrogas Malta.
State witness Melvin Theuma claimed that Fenech once said that Daphne’s murder was the last thing he needed to do to close the Electrogas chapter.
The deal has long been potentially linked to Fenech’s 17 Black, the Dubai company named as the “target client” for the Panama companies belonging to former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and former chief of staff Keith Schembri.
A report by the FIAU found that 17 Black had received at least three payments – one of €161,000 from Maltese local agent for the tanker supplying gas to the LNG power station and two separate payments amounting to €1.1 million from Baratzada through ABLV Bank.
ABLV was recently raised in one of Latvia’s most extensive investigations into money laundering yet.
More recently, 17 Black was found to be at the centre of a dubious deal involving the purchase of a Montenegro wind farm by Malta’s state-owned Enemalta plc.
Recent reports by Reuters and Times of Malta uncovered that the Maltese government had agreed to pay out €10.3 million for a Montenegro wind farm that had just been bought for €2.9 million two weeks prior.
According to Reuters and the Daphne Caruana Galizia foundation, the other company linked to deal, Cifidex, is connected to Turab Musayev, a former Electrogas director.
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