PN Head of Delegation David Casa has revealed that he has been in discussion with authorities in Dubai to ensure that evidence on 17 Black is secured and transferred to Maltese and international law enforcement authorities.
Casa said he has met with high ranking officials in the United Arab Emirates officials concerning the Dubai-based company at the centre of a political scandal – 17 Black. It was following his letter in September that Noor Bank froze $2 million found in 17 Black’s bank account.
The European Parliament resolution adopted yesterday asks for the funds to remain frozen until investigations are concluded. It also calls for the setting up of a joint investigative team supported by Europol and Eurojust.
Speaking to The Shift News, Casa said: “The Maltese authorities might try to tell us that it is Dubai that didn’t cooperate, when in fact it is the authorities in Malta that wouldn’t have done things properly, by not requesting information through the right channels and in the right way. We must prevent this from happening”.
Concerns have been raised on the investigation being conducted into the 17 Black scandal. It was thanks to a probe by The Times of Malta and Reuters that the mysterious owner of the company was revealed to be Electrogas director Yorgen Fenech, even though the information had been in the authorities’ possession for months.
“We have had serious concerns over the investigation being conducted into the 17 Black scandal for some time. 17 Black implicates persons at the highest levels of power and their preferred business associates, in corruption and money laundering. Following yesterday’s resolution, this is now also the position of the European Parliament,” Casa said in a statement.
The European Parliament resolution states that it was investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who first revealed the name of company 17 Black and that she was assassinated eight months later. At the time of Caruana Galizia’s assassination, she was working on the biggest leak of data she had ever received – 680,000 Electrogas documents.
The resolution also called for 17 Black’s bank account to remain frozen until thorough investigations have been concluded, and for authorities in the UAE to cooperate effectively with Maltese and international law enforcement agencies, in particular by responding to official requests for information.
“This case is of particular significance because the facts indicate it constitutes a theft from the Maltese people,” Casa said.
The amount of $2 million currently frozen in 17 Black’s bank account in Dubai is consistent with the amount published in leaked emails showing what Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri’s Panama companies were set to receive from 17 Black.