PN Head of Delegation MEP David Casa called on Moneyval to investigate the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit’s (FIAU) handling of information about Dubai-based company 17 Black.
The FIAU never denied reports that it was aware of the ultimate beneficiary owner of 17 Black since February and this could provide further evidence of high-level corruption and criminal activity, Casa said.
Moneyval – the Council of Europe’s permanent anti-money laundering monitoring body – will be evaluating Malta’s compliance with anti money laundering laws and their enforcement this November.
Referring to the leaked FIAU report calling for police action against Mizzi, Casa pointed out that 17 Black was a crucial element of this document as, “according to email correspondence between Nexia BT and Mossack Fonseca, would funnel €150,000 every month to each Mizzi and to Schembri”.
Should the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) be revealed to be a person or entity connected to a project for which Mizzi and Schembri were responsible, the implications would be serious and far-reaching. It could also imply that there could be criminal activity, he added.
In his letter, Casa called on Moneyval to look into the level of deceit by the FIAU in questioning the authenticity of the Mizzi Report with the intention of providing politicians with a means to falsely challenge the accuracy of the resulting revelations.
He also requested the investigating body to look into the circumstances under which the FIAU leaked information about their intention to take legal action against him to the press and whether this was done at the request of the politicians it was investigating.
Moneyval was asked to look into the lack of action taken against Nexia BT and the action taken after the FIAU was informed of 17 Black’s identity. Also, whether a wider investigation into the UBO of 17 Black was immediately launched and whether it is progressing without political interference.
The Mizzi Report also provides further evidence of the complicity of Nexia BT in corruption and money laundering with investigators arguing that documents were fabricated to support statements made by politicians and that efforts were made to mislead the FIAU and conceal incriminating evidence investigators, Casa said.
“It is the FIAU that is responsible for taking action against Nexia BT in view of these breaches of law. So far, Nexia BT has continued to operate without consequence while receiving lucrative government contracts,” Casa added.
He pointed out that in November, Moneyval will be in a position to establish the statements made by the FIAU to be false and this will indicate the extent of the political capture of this institution.
Socialist MEP Ana Gomes had called on the Maltese authorities to explain the reason why no action was taken against Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri in relation to 17 Black, a ‘target client’ of the Panama companies they both owned.