Yorgen Fenech’s infamous Dubai-based company 17 Black received a €2.3 million payment from a Swiss firm liked to Azerbaijan.
Fresh revelations from the Daphne Project uncovered that on 24th November 2015, 17 Black received the payment from Crowbar Holdings S.A, a British Virgin Islands-registered company operating out of Switzerland.
The company’s director was once Mariam Almaszade, who is Socar Trading’s CEO. She resigned in June 2015 before the transaction. Almaszade has declined to comment.
Crowbar was owned by Azeri entrepreneur Rovshan Tamrazov, who is linked to Maddox, a Swiss oil trading company where Almaszade used to work.
A formal request for information from Swiss authorities has been filed by Maltese authorities.
Fenech’s 17 Black was listed as the target clients for Tillgate and Hearnville, the two Panamanian companies owned by disgraced former Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and former minister Konrad Mizzi, by December 2015.
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. The company has since been linked to the controversial Enemalta purchase of Montenegrin windfarms.
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.
It has since been revealed that ElectroGas was set to default on major loans, but were saved by government intervention through a €360 million state guarantee and security of supply agreement. Both were signed after Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
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