Today’s revelations by Reuters and Times of Malta involving Yorgen Fenech, an Azeri businessman and a Montenegrin wind farm paint the clearest picture yet that high-ranking government officials signed deals on behalf of the Maltese public which enriched themselves personally.
In short, it seems the Maltese government agreed to pay out €10.3 million for a wind farm that had just been bought for €2.9 million two weeks prior. The beneficiaries? None other than Yorgen Fenech, the man charged with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and Turab Musayev, an Azeri businessman who was involved with Fenech in the ElectroGas power station project.
So how did all this begin?
Back on 28th December 2015, Malta’s national energy company Enemalta paid €10.3 million to buy a wind farm Možura, Montenegro in a deal spearheaded by then Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi.
This was hailed as Enemalta’s first overseas energy investment and a strong sign of its new financial prowess after it was partially bought by the Chinese state-owned Shanghai Electric Power.
However, there was a lot lying beneath the surface that the Maltese public weren’t made aware of.
Between 2010 and 2015, this wind farm venture was run by a Spanish consortium, but on 10th December 2015 it sold its shares to a Seychelles company called Cifidex in December 2015… not for €10.3 million but for €2.9 million.
Reuters revealed that Cifidex was owned by Turab Musayev, an executive of SOCAR Trading, Azerbaijan’s state energy company which is part of the Electrogas consortium which runs the Delimara power station.
If his name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Caruana Galizia murder middleman Melvin Theuma has testified seeing Musayev and Fenech together and driving them to Electrogas meetings.
Today’s revelations show that Musayev was loaned the €2.9 million to purchase the Montenegrin wind farm by none other than Fenech, via his Dubai company 17 Black.
After Musayev made his tidy €7.4 million profit off the back of the Maltese public, he repaid Fenech’s loan along with an additional €4.6 million, leaving him with €2.8 million in profit.
Speaking through his lawyers, Musayev denied any wrongdoing, saying his business with Fenech involved due diligence from reputable and established bankers, accountants and lawyers.
“As you will imagine, our client knew nothing, suspected nothing, and had no reason to believe Mr Fenech had any involvement in this atrocity,” his lawyers told Reuters, referring to Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
Musayev’s lawyers said Cifidex had its own independent management, without addressing his ownership of Cifidex or responding to questions about his role in the Mozura deal. A further letter clarified that beyond the Mozura transaction, Musayev had “no other business with Mr Fenech.”
But Fenech was not the only person who stood to benefit from large sums of money being transferred to 17 Black…
In 2019, journalists published an email that Nexia BT partner Karl Cini had sent now-defunct Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in an attempt to open a bank account in the Bahamas for Panama companies owned by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, the former OPM chief of staff who Fenech has since implicated in the murder of Caruana Galizia.
Cini informed the bank that Schembri’s and Mizzi’s main target clients will be 17 Black and another Dubai company called Macbridge and that these two companies will transfer €150,000 a month to the government officials’ companies.
This email was sent on 17th December 2015, a week after Musayev bought the wind farm and a week before he sold it to Enemalta.
Meanwhile, 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 €1.1 million from an Azeri security guard called Rufat Baratzada.
This raised serious suspicions that 17 Black was being used to funnel kickbacks to Mizzi and Schembri on the back of state projects they had a hand in securing for Malta.
Approached about the Montenegro wind farm scandal, Mizzi insisted with Times of Malta that he had no connection whatsoever with 17 Black while Schembri didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat defended the wind farm deal, saying the project was part of the government’s plan for Enemalta to identify joint investment opportunities in third countries.
However, with Fenech now charged with conspiring to assassinate Caruana Galizia and having reportedly told police he is willing to speak out about “major corruption scandals”, this deal has taken on a whole new light.
This article is subject to a legal dispute