Former opposition leader Simon Busuttil said that tourism minister Konrad Mizzi “is clearly lying when he says that he does not know who own the company 17 Black when he was planning to get payments of $150,000 from it each month.”
Speaking outside the Valletta law courts on Monday morning, Busuttil said it “was also clear that Mizzi and Schembri were in it together.”
Together with MEP David Casa, Busuttil gave evidence under oath to Magistrate Francesco Depasquale in relation to the joint court application they filed on 20 April 2018 requesting a magisterial inquiry on the basis of the revelations made by The Daphne Project and the FIAU report in Casa’s possession.
The two also presented evidence and documentation but would not say what this was.
“The evidence linking Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri to criminal activity is now overwhelming following the latest revelations in the Daphne Project,” Busuttil said.
Casa said that Mizzi and Schembri have now been caught red-handed planning how to net $150,000 a month and the evidence is there for all to see.
The MEP added that the revelations made by The Daphne Project and the FIAU report in his possession point towards an organised money laundering operation. Despite these damning allegations backed up by multiple sources, Mizzi and Schembri are being defended and sheltered by Joseph Muscat, Casa said, adding “it is abundantly clear that Muscat is willing to put our nation’s reputation on the line in order to save Mizzi and Schembri’s skin and this makes him complicit.”
The next step in the procedure is for Magistrate Francesco Depasquale to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to launch a criminal investigation into the matter.
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.”