The Gasan Group has said it is seeking to exit from the ElectroGas power station in light of links being drawn between the project and the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“We have not received any dividends and have only registered losses in relation to our investment in ElectroGas,” the statement by chairman Joe Gasan and CEO Mark Gasan reads.
“Any assertions being made to the contrary are factually incorrect. In view of the controversy surrounding this project and irrespective of the fact that we have done nothing untoward at any point, we have decided to identify all avenues to exit our interest and not to profit in any way from this investment.”
“We declare, publicly and unequivocally, that if there is substance to the allegations of corruption in relation to the project, we had absolutely nothing to do with it: we did not participate in it, we did not support it, we did not condone it and we did not know about it. And if it did happen, we condemn it without reservation and trust that justice will be served.”
“We are mortified and shocked that links are being drawn between this project and the brutal assassination of Mrs. Daphne Caruana Galizia. All our sympathies remain with the family of Mrs. Caruana Galizia, and, together with all right-minded people, we look forward to the successful prosecution and conviction of all those who were involved in this terrible act.”
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 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.
Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew recently said that his mother could have been killed to stop her writing about a trove of ElectroGas documents that were leaked to her.
He said this leak, along with the eventual news that Yorgen 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.
With Gasan out of the picture, who else remains at ElectroGas?
The Gasan Group owns a third of GEM Holdings, a joint venture of Maltese companies which owns a third of ElectroGas, along with Azeri state energy company Socar and German conglomerate Siemens.
Besides the Gasans, the joint venture also includes the Tumas Group, the Apap Bologna family and a separate company owned solely by Yorgen Fenech, the former Tumas Group CEO who has been charged with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
ElectroGas recently issued a statement to say an internal review had found no signs of corruption at any stage of the project and to warn that the documents which were passed on to Caruana Galizia, and after her murder to other media houses, were “illegally retrieved” from their servers.
What do you make of this announcement?