Konrad Mizzi only paid Nexia BT after secret companies were exposed by Panama Papers

Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi only paid Nexia BT for setting up his secret offshore company after the Panama Papers exposed his ownership of Hearnville Inc.

Mizzi only paid for the firm’s services for the first time in June 2016, a few months after his Panama company was exposed in the Panama Papers revelations.

This transpired from a recently-leaked report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) that MEP David Casa presented to a Magistrate, which concluded that Mizzi should be investigated by the police for money laundering.

The FIAU found there was an “overall lack of fees payable to Nexia BT from Dr Konrad Mizzi for the services provided until June 2016”.

It was only in June 2016, two months after Panama Papers that Mizzi made the first payment to Nexia for its services rendered to him in relation to the opening of a company in Panama and a trust in New Zealand. The payment made in June 2016 was for the amount of €4,345.44.

A further payment amounting to €493.72 was also made in August 2016.

The payments were made three years after Mizzi’s Panama company was set up by Nexia BT. The Malta advisory firm began setting up Panama companies for senior members of government five days after the 2013 election, the Australian Financial Review reported in April 2016.

Last month, The Shift News reported that the leaked FIAU report shows that Nexia BT repeatedly tried to conceal the true ownership of the Panama companies owned by Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri from its investigators.

The Daphne Project has published evidence that Mizzi and Schembri’s Panama companies were destined to receive €150,000 monthly from a secret Dubai company named 17 Black and another “target client” called MacBridge.

FIAU investigators did not manage to uncover information about the people behind 17 Black and MacBridge but a $1.4 million payment to 17 Black from a Seychelles company owned by an Azerbaijani national was traced.

A further $200,000 payment was wired to 17 Black by Orion Engineering, a company owned by the local agent for the tanker that supplies gas to the Delimara power station.

While Mizzi said that there is no connection between his Panama company and 17 Black, Schembri said: “17 Black and MacBridge were included in draft business plans for my business group as potential clients.”

Moreover, Mizzi personally signed the agreement between the Government of Malta and SOCAR Trading for the supply of liquified natural gas (LNG) to the Electrogas power station for 18 years.

During an investigation which led to the 128-page report, Malta’s anti-money laundering agency had found that the agreement on the supply of LNG to the new power station was personally signed by Konrad Mizzi on behalf of the Maltese government.

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