Keith Schembri, former chief of staff of disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, told the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday that he “could not remember” authorising the set up of an offshore company in Panama in his name, despite evidence to the contrary.
Documents from 2015 authorising the set-up of Tillgate Inc. show that Schembri signed off on the process, calling into question whether Schembri may have committed perjury in his PAC testimony. Schembri also chose to opt into options which allow for greater secrecy and lessened transparency when the company was opened.
Despite his memory lapse, Schembri remembered the old line he used when caught out with the release of the Panama Papers – that the company was to be used ‘only once he left politics‘. Schembri authorised the setting up of the company in 2015. Labour was elected to power in 2013.
Tillgate Inc. was set to receive millions of US Dollars from 17 Black, a company set up in Dubai by Yorgen Fenech, the businessman accused of masterminding the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
During the PAC meeting, Schembri initially first denied authorising the set-up of companies in Panama, only to later amend his statement by saying that he “cannot remember” ever authorising the process.
During the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry, Keith Schembri admitted to owning the Panamanian company, going so far as to say “I never had any reason to hide that it was mine, never” despite claiming in the same inquiry that he was not aware that Nexia BT had set it up.
Despite claiming he was not involved in the company’s set-up, Schembri nevertheless handed over power of attorney for its dissolution to Mossack Fonseca in 2017.
A December 2015 e-mail from the 2016 Panama Papers leak, published by The Times of Malta, shows that Tillgate Inc. and former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi’s company Hearnville Inc., were set “generate around US$2 million within a year” from Fenech’s 17 Black and Macbridge Limited.
Macbridge was later found to be owned by the mother-in-law of a key Chinese negotiator in the Electrogas energy deal, Chen Cheng.
In another leaked email from February 2016, Nexia BT’s Karl Cini, who was negotiating the company set-up, sent an urgent request for an update to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, tasked with opening bank accounts for the companies.
This guy is a compulsive liar. Thanks to the institutions , he’s still out enjoying life.
Hallu l istituzzjoniniet jahdmu….kom.
Dik ir risposta komuni tal bdabad.
When people like Keith Schembri have their back against the wall, the last thing they have to say is, they don’t remember.
I am surprised he remembers he was ‘chief of staff’ of a corrupt govt.
I really question whether some people do understand the responsibility when taking an oath to say the truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God.
When their true God is money no other God exists for such people..
Why won’t the Attorney General and Commissioner Gafa arraign Keith Schembri for committing perjury in front of parliament? If they don’t believe they have enough evidence then they can contact the US State Department for their” credible evidence “ of fraud they hold on Schembri and Mizzi. 2 for the price of 1! https://www.state.gov/public-designation-of-former-maltese-public-officials-konrad-mizzi-and-keith-schembri-due-to-involvement-in-significant-corrupti
Tant jigdeb li jinsa xi jkun gideb minuta qabel.
General amnesia in order to wait for the final general amnesty to be granted by the PL govt after being submitted to the President of Malta for approval. All in good time.