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Yorgen Fenech’s 17 Black Forms Part Of Azerbaijani Laundromat, New Information Suggests

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Yorgen Fenech’s 17 Black account in Dubai allegedly forms part of an “Azerbaijani Laundromat,” a network of shell companies used to embezzle public funds out of Azerbaijan and pay bribes around the world, according to fresh information. 

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation released a statement noting that the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has settled its prosecution for money laundering against Izzat Javadova, a cousin of Azerbaijan’s ruler Ilham Aliyev, and her husband Suleyman Javadov, son of Azerbaijan’s former deputy energy minister.

As part of the settlement, the NCA seized £4 million the couple received from Azerbaijani Laundromat shell companies.

The foundation has obtained a registry filing of one of the shell companies cited in the NCA’s case. The filing for Hong Kong company Ago Limited states that, from 2015 onwards, the entity was owned, on paper, by Azeri national Rufat Baratzada, a security guard at a construction site in Baku.

Baratzada’s details on Ago Limited’s filing are identical to those on filings of Mayor Trans Ltd, a Seychelles shell company that sent €1.4 million from its account at ABLV Bank in Latvia to 17 Black’s account at Noor Bank in Dubai, held in Yorgen Fenech’s name.

A leaked report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) found that 17 Black had received €161,000 from the local agent for the tanker supplying gas to the LNG power station, and two separate payments amounting to €1.4 million from Rufat Baratzada.

“The mechanisms, facilitators, and frontman involved in the payments to the Javadovs in the UK case are the same as those involved in the payments to 17 Black. This warrants further investigation into whether 17 Black, first identified by Daphne Caruana Galizia, was a bridge between the Azerbaijani Laundromat and high-level officials in Malta,” the foundation said. 

Fenech, the Tumas Group businessman charged in connection to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was first revealed to be the owner of 17 Black in 2018.

Fenech’s 17 Black was listed as the target clients for Tillgate and Hearnville, the two Panamanian companies owned by former Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and former minister Konrad Mizzi.

According to one e-mail found in the Panama Papers, Schembri and Mizzi were set to receive payments of up to $2 million from 17 Black.

Meanwhile, it has been recently revealed that Enemalta forked out €10.3 million to purchase a Montenegrin wind farm from a company linked to Yorgen Fenech.

The murky structures have been linked to the Electrogas deal, which Fenech forms part of. The deal itself has been flagged as a potential motive by Matthew Caruana Galizia. 

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Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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