Yorgen Fenech (centre) made millions through a company linked to others owned by Konrad Mizzi (left) and Keith Schembri (right).
Editor' note: This #TimesTalk episode was recorded before Ian Abdilla was replaced as Economic Crimes Unit chief and Konrad Mizzi was expelled from the Labour Party.
It’s been more than four years since the Panama Papers exposed Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi’s secret offshore dealings, and yet the two political figures are still making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Last week, Times of Malta and Reuters revealed how an Enemalta deal in Montenegro made Yorgen Fenech millions through his company 17 Black – the same company which Schembri and Mizzi’s offshore companies were set to receive money from.
In this week’s #TimesTalk podcast, Times of Malta reporter Jacob Borg walks us through that deal, the work it took to expose it and what people should now expect of authorities.
“The very fact that it’s taken us two years to get to this shows just how well-hidden these structures were. 17 Black was hidden behind a massive brick wall and we’ve had to take it down slab by slab,” he says.
Fenech stands accused of complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Schembri resigned as OPM chief of staff hours before being arrested last year. Mizzi this week was expelled by the Labour Party following the Montenegro revelations.
Now, the real onus for action rests with the police. Borg says he expects investigators to make up for lost time.
“The raw material of our investigation all starts from the Panama Papers. If the police had taken this seriously and hauled them in for questioning, maybe they would have admitted that Yorgen Fenech owns [17 Black].”
Police have said they are investigating the deal.
Meanwhile, Schembri has testified in court that he knew all along that the company belonged to his good friend Fenech.
The admission, Borg says, adds to the veil of suspicion.
“If Keith Schembri had nothing to hide about his links to 17 Black, why would he have lied about knowing Yorgen Fenech owns the company?”
In part two of this week’s #TimesTalk podcast, Vanessa Conneely speaks to expats who have decided to leave Malta after sensing rising xenophobia.