Yorgen Fenech was plotting with a UK law firm to pursue libel suits against MEP David Casa and journalist Manuel Delia, emails submitted to a Maltese courts show.
Matthew Caruana Galizia presented the courts with an email exchange between Fenech and Electrogas’ PR consultant, Chris Mifsud.
In one, Fenech reveals that he has contacted a UK-based firm with the hopes that a £20 million lawsuit will be filed against the pair.
In a blog post published shortly after Caruana Galizia’s testimony, Delia said that Fenech’s lawyer Susan Aslan had identified him [Delia] as “pretty much the easiest win” and an “ideal first case” for a potential UK lawsuit.
However, he said Aslan warned that if Fenech were to sue Casa, she was “concerned the EPP will involve itself and turn Brussels guns blazing”.
The email exchange came following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and reports from the Daphne Project which continued an investigation kicked off by the journalist, who had received over 100,000 documents from Electrogas from a source in the months leading up to her murder.
Daphne Project partners Times of Malta and Reuters revealed that Fenech was the owner of the Dubai company 17 Black in November 2018.
Both Casa and Delia were vociferous voices in the months following the murder, with the latter even publishing a book linking Fenech to the murder in the months before his arrest.
This was not the only time Fenech targetted the pair and members within the PN.
With regards to Casa, former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri has said under oath that former PN leader Delia took €50,000 from Fenech to ensure that Casa was not re-elected during the 2019 elections. The claim has been echoed by state witness Melvin Theuma.
Meanwhile, Lovin Malta has revealed that Fenech would communicate regularly on the encrypted messaging service with the then-PN head of media Pierre Portelli, colluding on leaking stories against internal party rivals.
This included stories against Casa, Chris Said, who competed against Adrian Delia for PN leadership, and Nickie Vella de Fremaux, Delia’s estranged ex-wife.
The latest story is yet another example of vexatious SLAPP lawsuits being used to silence critics in Malta, something which the European Parliament is trying to address.
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 the 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.
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. He has flagged it as a potential motive behind the murder.
Most recently, it was revealed Electrogas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna transferred $200,000 to Yorgen Fenech’s 17 Black using an almost identical offshore structure.
What do you think of the reveal?