Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressing a CHOGM summit in London today
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has not yet responded to last night’s publication of a damning email by The Daphne Project which proved that the Panama companies of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri were supposed to receive money from two mysterious companies in Dubai.
The revelations, obtained from a leaked report of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), include an email sent by Nexia BT to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in which two Dubai companies called 17 Black and Macbridge were named as the two main target clients of Mizzi’s and Schembri’s Panama companies.
The FIAU found that 17 Black had received three payments – one single payment of €161,000 from the local agent for the tanker supplying gas to the LNG power station and two separate payments amounting to €1.1 million from an unnamed Azeri national. The €1.1 million was sent to 17 Black via ABLV, a former Latvian bank that was recently embroiled in an international scandal after the United States accused it of enabling transactions linked to North Korea’s weapons program and of facilitating corruption connected to Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine. Mizzi’s and Schembri’s reactions to the revelations were totally contradictory to each other.
While Schembri insisted that 17 Black and Macbridge were included “in draft business plans for my business group as potential clients”, Mizzi stuck with his line of defence that his structure was solely intended as a family trust.
However, Joseph Muscat – who is currently in London for the biannual CHOGM summit – has not yet reacted to the news. The Prime Minister’s Twitter activity for today only includes references to the CHOGM, new Maltese health statistics and an announcement that applications for the SkolaSajf summer school have opened.