Mizzi, the observer – Kevin Cassar

“I was just an observer”, Konrad Mizzi claimed when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee.

Mizzi was no observer. He signed an open cheque using taxpayers’ money to reassure SOCAR that its deal with Electrogas was secure. For years, Mizzi’s deal was kept secret.

Joseph Muscat and later Robert Abela did everything possible to keep it that way.  For good reason.  That deal jeopardised the entire Maltese economy.

Labour bound the country to pay all Electrogas debts, no matter how much.  This was in addition to another commitment to pay €432 million to Bank of Valletta if Electrogas collapsed

The SOCAR deal was worth  $1 billion. Labour committed the country to buy gas from SOCAR for 18 years at artificially inflated prices, whether we needed it or not.

That deal was so rotten that The Guardian reported that Malta was losing money “hand over fist”.  SOCAR simply bought the gas from Shell but had no involvement in extracting, processing or delivering that gas to Malta.

In one year alone, SOCAR made €40 million from the deal. Yet Konrad Mizzi deceitfully claimed the deal “is saving Malta huge amounts of money”.

In March 2015, one month before he signed that ruinous deal, Mizzi personally directed Enemalta to buy petrol and diesel from SOCAR.  “I know the people at SOCAR,” he bragged.

He ordered Enemalta chairman, former Labour Minister Charles Mangion, to hedge a deal with SOCAR. That deal cost taxpayers another €14.1 million in losses – €8.6 million on crude oil and €5.5 million on petrol and diesel.

A National Audit Office investigation concluded that Konrad Mizzi, the observer, personally intervened in procuring oil and fuel.  But left no paper trail.

“Documentation was incomplete,” the NAO complained, “rendering it impossible for this office to determine the extent of ministerial direction exercised”.  The lack of documentation “detracted from accountability” and was a “shortcoming in terms of governance”.

SOCAR had already gained global notoriety.  The UN Human Rights Council appealed to the Azerbaijani government to make SOCAR more accountable to parliament.

The NGO Global Witness published a report, ‘Azerbaijan Anonymous‘, in December 2013.  It revealed that private companies made billions of dollars purportedly for “handling Azerbaijani oil” even though nobody knew what they did or who owned them.

Mizzi’s SOCAR deal also made international headlines.  In January 2020, Latvian police mounted an investigation described as “relating to money laundering in connection with Malta’s SOCAR agreement concluded in a manner contrary to the interest of the (Maltese) state”.

Some €28 million suspiciously passed between SOCAR and two secretive limited partnerships through Latvian banks. SOCAR mounted a legal challenge to stop the Latvian police from getting banking information related to Malta’s SOCAR agreement.  The Swiss court rejected SOCAR’s request.  Desperate to maintain secrecy, SOCAR appealed, but the court confirmed its judgement.

Konrad Mizzi was the man behind those deals. His name is on that SOCAR agreement, now public thanks to the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation and The Shift. No wonder Mizzi was desperate to keep it secret.

Mizzi took his oath of office on 13 March 2013. The very next day, Karl Cini of Nexia BT wrote to Mossack Fonseca to open “companies in Panama”.

One week later, Cini indicated that “no auditing” should be allowed on Mizzi’s company and that it should have “total secrecy and confidentiality”. No information was to be shared with any authority, including Malta.

By October 2013, SOCAR, Gasol and a group of Maltese investors (Electrogas) “won” the contract to develop the new power station.

In December 2014, Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi travelled secretly to Azerbaijan without any journalists, civil servants or diplomats. That seems to be when those deals were hatched.

In February 2015, Muscat changed the ministerial code of ethics.  It was no longer obligatory to list the assets of ministerial spouses.

In March 2015, the NAO revealed that Mizzi’s direct interference in procuring fuel from SOCAR lost the country €14.1million.  In April 2015, Muscat was back in Azerbaijan –  without journalists or civil servants.

On the same day that Gasol sold its Electrogas shares for tens of millions of euro, Mizzi’s Panama company, Hearneville, was transferred to a New Zealand Trust.

By September 2015, Nexia BT was desperately trying to open accounts for Mizzi’s company. On 26 November 2015, Karl Cini emailed Mossack Fonseca, “They (Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri) are asking about these million dollars – is this only the opening deposit?”.

By 2 December, the bank, BSI Panama, replied that to open those accounts, “a deposit of 1 million per year is required”. Cini confirmed that Mizzi gave his approval and would meet that requirement to deposit €1 million per year.

In February 2015, BSI Bank was fined US$211 million for helping clients evade US$3 billion in taxes through a maze of fictitious Trusts, shell corporations and anonymous accounts.

The bank allowed clients to open “numbered” accounts, shielding owners’ identities and issuing credit and debit cards without visible names.  The bank also helped clients repatriate cash through a coded system.

Clients would send coded phrases such as “can you download some tunes for us” or “the gas tank is empty” to the bank relationship managers. This would prompt the bankers to add more money to their cards.

“I was never involved in any corruption,” Mizzi protested. Yet Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, who set up his secret financial structures, stand accused of corruption, money laundering and fraud.

Mossack Fonseca, who set up Mizzi’s Panamian company, collapsed after the discovery of its multi-billion-dollar money laundering schemes.

BSI Bank. where Mizzi tried to open an account, was found guilty of serious breaches concerning money laundering.

Mizzi’s SOCAR deal is still being investigated by Latvian authorities. And Mizzi cannot even enter the US because the Justice Department determined that Mizzi was involved in “significant corruption”.

Yet Labour continues to protect and cover up for him – because Mizzi was not alone. Behind him was Muscat.

                           
                               
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Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
25 days ago

“Blind” observes cannot do with a built-in nature’s radar – as bats can.

The result: total disaster – at least for others if not for themselves!

Last edited 25 days ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
carlos
25 days ago

Xi hmieg ta pajjiz korrott- fejn huma l-ligijie? MAFIA MALTA IMMEXXIJA MINN QABDA HALLELIN FIL-MAQJEL U L-MIZBLA F’Kastilja.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
25 days ago

The change in the ministerial code of ethics was part of the roadmap.

A. Fan
A. Fan
25 days ago

Trouble is, this posterboy for unbridled avarice and immorality also observed where all the figurative bodies got buried over the years, and by whom. But omertà only works until the weakest rat starts squealing to save his own hide. The local boys and girls in blue don’t seem to be looking for one all that hard, though.

v zammit
v zammit
25 days ago

Not ony but, worst of all, Konrad Mizzi did all this behind the back of parliament and in breach of EU law.
Where are the police and the courts in all this?
How is it that Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, who know everything, including Egrant, are still at large? Others, so connected, are languishing in prison. Cannot a court compel them to tell all? The courts cannot be complicit in all this.

Travis Brannon
Travis Brannon
25 days ago

If you are in a court of law and your lawyer submits an application to the court stating untruths or misrepresentations of the truth, and the court learns of this dishonesty, perhaps outside of your awareness, you, not the lawyer are ultimately held responsible. That’s a fact and a matter of law. The same is true at the political level.

When Mizzi, Schembri and Muscat surreptitiously made the Maltese Republic and the Maltese people guarantors of that corrupt SOCAR deal, so they could line their own pockets (once again financially abusing the people who elected them) they implicated the entire nation in their corruption. Moreover, because it was this corrupt deal specifically, corruption that the Maltese people signed up for and sustained by way way of massive electoral win in 2017, this state backed corruption lead to Daphne’s murder, ergo the Maltese people as a nation, have blood on their hands. As it is in a court of law, so it is in the political arena. The elected officials of the Maltese people implicated the nation in grand corruption and then murdered the anti-corruption journalist that tried to expose the truth.

If this happened in a court of law, ultimately the Maltese people would have to bear some accountability given that their elected officials implicated the entire nation in not only grand corruption, but murder. This fact gives new meaning to the term mafia state. And despite all this, the culture of impunity and amorality continues. Only a fraction protest and fight against the gutter the nation is being dragged through and irrevocably stained by.

Edward Axisa
Edward Axisa
24 days ago
Reply to  Travis Brannon

Exactly spot on agreed 100% taught the same thing for years

Frans Cassar
Frans Cassar
24 days ago
Reply to  Travis Brannon

The elected officials of the Maltese people implicated the nation in grand corruption”. This is exactly what we’re at and how the huge majorities are conquered. They knew from day one that the SOCAR deal was the most corrupt deal ever intended.
So they hedged their impunity with mass corruption to implicate as many citizens as possible, including the opposition, in the form of jobs, permits, road construction contracts, public space given to privates, and anything else under the sun that yields cash.

And that’s why you see only the few who dare to protest or have the resilience and perseverance to continue in their investigative work. But I still have hope in the few.

Vela
Vela
25 days ago

Konrad Mizzi says he has found God

Golden Vote Holders Only!
Engaged with the public sector, no office work experience needed and it is non existent, invented job descriptions by their Ceo’s. Double/ Triple your pay at your expense. Well done Unions.
More expenditure Air Malta
Workers who opt for a golden handshake are being offered anything between €40,000 and €300,000.
The government is offering €40,000 to those who have served up to five years; €80,000 to those serving 5-10 years; €120,000 for 10-15 years of service; €150,000 for 15-20 years of service; €180,000 for 20-25 years; €210,000 for 25-30; and €240,000 for those of over 30 years of service.

Frans Cassar
Frans Cassar
24 days ago
Reply to  Vela

This is a misappropriation of taxpayers’ money.

Francis Said
Francis Said
25 days ago

No wonder some fat cats get what they want, although they don’t deserve it.
Corruption, greed, the total lack of the rule of law has spread throughout our Country like the bubonic plague.
Malta like the rest of the world is in a recession. All foreign economists are saying this. 2023 will still be in a recession and recovery will be slow.
Meanwhile, notwithstanding all this the government is still wasting taxpayers’ funds as if it is business as usual. The Minister of Finance the Hon. Clyde Caruana, apart from saying that relevant Ministries need to reduce expenditure by 200 million euros are still splashing out taxpayers’ funds to cover the truth of Malta’s dire financial situation.
The latest one is the Minister of the Economy who said that the ITS building in Smart City is still on plan. Recently in the news, this project was announced that it is in limbo.
The right hand contradicting the left hand.
The Minister of Finance, both the previous one and the current are absolutely worthless and have no say in the matter.

Last edited 25 days ago by Francis Said
Eddy A
Eddy A
25 days ago

Are there still any doubts about the real masterminds behind the assassination of Daphne, don’t think so.

Edward Mallia
Edward Mallia
25 days ago

I am a little puzzled by some details in the above writing.

  1. The length of the SOCAR – Electrogas agreement is given as 18 years. Yet there was an open statement by Ms. M. Dalli that the fixed-price supply of LNG closed at end April 2022. That apart, the agreement was for SOCAR to buy LNG from the Shell-Abu Dhabi terminal in the Gulf at the going market price and sell it to Electrogas — and what about Shanghai Electric and its BWSC? — at a fixed price. Now until the end of 2020, the market price was always lower and frequently much lower than the agreed fixed price. So SOCAR was making a killing. Where was the money going? Given the “design qualities” of Mizzi’s and Schembri’s Panama accounts, and of Egrant and Black 17, very probably down those gaping mouths. This must have been the source of the promised avalanche pouring into these accounts.
  2. After end of 2020, SOCAR must have been suffering serious losses, as the market price of LNG climbed rapidly above the agreed price.
  3. After April 2022, Ms. Dalli issued a statement purporting to describe her marvelous new arrangements for purchasing LNG. No details of course, pleading ”commercial sensitivity ”.
  4. Konrad Mizzi was also instrumental in getting Cabinet to agree to waive a Euro 40 million debt which Electrogas owed to Government as duty on LNG importation. For as you say, ”SOCAR simply bought the gas from Shell but had no involvement in extracting, processing or delivering that gas to Malta.”’. Electrogas was doing the formal importing.

A pretty picture indeed.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
25 days ago

Well said for posterity sake – let’s not forget’.
The spouses were exempted from the annual declaration, to be the cover up for their spouses.
What about Sai Mizzi’s phrase ‘judge me on what I do for you’. Yes Sai, you fucked us all, and you too deserve prison.
What about Michelle Muscat Tanti, living a life of luxury, and declaring that she was the loser with the heinous assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while playing Salome’ in her assassination?
What about Keith Schembri’s spouse and her accusation of money laundering?
One can go on forever, however their road to PRISON, has already started, despite Robert Abela doing his very best to cover up for them. This is what will also lead him to a prison cell, to our joy.

Last edited 25 days ago by Godfrey Leone Ganado
James
James
25 days ago

Let’s hope you are right, but who is going to put them in prison?

Can’t see any chance of the current government and its appointed puppets in the police and the Attorney General’s office being at the head of the queue to deliver justice, as they should be behind bars themselves!

Reality
Reality
24 days ago

This corrupt lot led the most corrupt pm ,zMafiamalta ever had should have been behind bars for at least three years. This could only have happened if we had a decent police force and not so corrupt law courts.wake up people, the true Maltese had revolted when they had had enough.

Robert Robinson
Robert Robinson
19 days ago

Amazing blog with well-organized content that is tailored to the reader’s interests, clear definitions of words, and a great source of information. I appreciate you sharing some thorough, set of questions and their responses. Murder defence lawyers.

Last edited 19 days ago by Robert Robinson

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