Court order reveals names of those charged with busting Libya sanctions

Two brothers are among the four charged with violating Libya sanctions together with arms dealer James Fenech, The Shift can reveal.

The five are accused of breaching sanctions through one of Fenech’s companies, Sovereign Charterers, during an operation off Libya’s coast last summer.

The names of the other four charged with Fenech have so far been kept under wraps, for reasons unknown. They were simply described as Fenech’s “employees”.

Yet, a court order dated 24 April to freeze the assets of four individuals that was published in the Government Gazette lists their names.  Their personal details match those in initial reports the police gave to the media although their names were withheld.

Investigations by The Shift show that brothers Bertrand Agius, 47, (a delivery man) and Konrad Agius, 44, (a government blacksmith) were among the four arraigned together with Fenech.

They were joined by pensioner Charles Bugeja, 63, and Michael Cauchi, 45, both residing in Mellieha – the same locality where Fenech started his arms trade business from a small shop selling supplies to Maltese hunters.

The five were charged after the police launched an investigation into the use of Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBS) in June 2019 by personnel with links to the Emirati government and its efforts to arm Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army.

They have denied the accusations and were given bail by Magistrate Victor Asciak. Fenech is insisting that the police’s charges relate to fully authorised operations and that his group will have the opportunity to ‘clear its name’.

The Shift has documented Fenech’s rise from a hunting shop in Mellieha to one of the EU’s key arms dealers.

Fenech’s work has repeatedly made international headlines. His organisation made its mark in recent years supplying weapons to private security firms working for the EU, partnering also with Erik Prince, a former US Navy SEAL officer and the founder of Blackwater – a controversial US private military company that was given unclassified security contracts from the CIA during the Iraq war.

Currently, Fenech’s Mellieha shop – Fieldsports – has a quasi-monopoly in supplying armaments to EU companies, being one of the very few suppliers in the EU accredited to sell lethal weapons on EU soil for private users, according to reports prepared for the European Parliament. Big firms in the industry turn to the local shop Fieldsports when they need to order weapons for armed guards deployed to protect EU embassies.

Other companies controlled by Fenech, Strategic Supplies and REA Malta, take care of logistics for various UN agencies and NGOs in hostile environments.

They are among a long list of companies in which Fenech is involved that shows he has diversified his investments, even tapping into some €60 million in road works by the Maltese government.

Read ‘From arms to riches: The rise of James Fenech

                           
                               
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