German authorities have been requested to investigate bribery in commercial business transactions in relation to Siemens’ involvement in bribery allegations relating to the company 17 Black, which emails have shown promised kickbacks to top government officials.
Siemens is a shareholder in Electrogas – the company behind Malta’s power station project.
Electrogas director and chief executive of the Tumas Group Yorgen Fenech has been exposed as the mysterious owner of the secret Dubai company 17 Black in a probe by the Times of Malta and Reuters.
According to correspondence between Mossack Fonseca and Nexia BT, the company was to transfer $150,000 monthly to top government officials.
The emails showed that 17 Black was one of two sources of income for the Panama companies Hearnville and Tillgate, set up by Muscat’s consultants Nexia BT for Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri a few days after they assumed office in March 2013.
In a letter to the Secretary of State Stephan Mayer, PN Head of Delegation David Casa called on German authorities to immediately launch an investigation “in the view of the involvement of Siemens in Electrogas, and the clear evidence of corruption and money laundering”.
Germany has robust anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws that apply to its companies and to German nationals overseas. The country stepped up its enforcement following scandals involving Siemens, one of the world’s biggest companies.
In 2009 Siemens had to pay US$1.6 billion in one of the largest fines for bribery. The case involved payments to well-placed officials around the globe.
Reacting to the revelations, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he would not take any action until the magisterial inquiries relating to the Panama Papers were completed.
Yet, Muscat is himself blocking the start of the magisterial inquiry relating to 17 Black, together with another six involved in the case: Schembri, Mizzi, Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, Schembri’s associate Malcolm Scerri, and Adrian Hillman, former Managing Director of Allied Newspapers.
Each suspect has filed separate appeals against a magisterial decision to start an inquiry into their activities that remain stalled in the courts after the Judge assigned the case, Antonio Mizzi who is the husband of Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi, refused to recuse himself.
In his letter, Casa pointed out that at the time of her assassination, investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s was working on the biggest leak of data she had ever received relating to data “from Electrogas servers”.
Casa stressed this in a letter sent today to European Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová.
The Opposition said in a statement that the Prime Minister is persisting with “protecting his friends rather than Malta’s reputation”. PN Leader Adrian Delia said the Prime Minister had no choice but to ask them to step down.
Related news: Disinformation Watch: Going for broke – 17 Black