Egrant report: Plans for entity controlled through offshore company uncovered

Credit: The Running Commentary - Daphne Caruana Galizia

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A plan for the creation of an entity aimed at ‘promoting investment between China and Malta’ was uncovered during the Egrant Inquiry. The entity proposed was to be registered in Malta and ‘100% controlled by a holding company from BVI’. This emerged from an email dated 24 June 2014 which was reviewed by a forensic accountant.

The Egrant inquiry report was published on Tuesday afternoon by Opposition leader and Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia after a legal battle in court. In a section of the inquiry report, forensic accountant Miroslava Milenovic reviewed communication between Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Brian Tonna and Cheng Chen of Shanghai Electric Power.

The forensic accountant noted that in further communication a close relationship between Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and Brian Tonna is evident.

Mr. Cheng’s email stated as follows:

“(…)to discuss tomorrow (…) meeting with you (Mr Mizzi), Keith (Mr Keith Schembri) and Brian (Mr Brian Tonna) to finalize business model (…) energy related topics, real estate, tourism (…) meeting with Maltese experts to understand the potential as off-shore investment hub for Chinese (…)”

In the communication reviewed by the court-appointed expert, for a so-called MACHIN Project, a public-private-partnership was to be created having the purpose of acting as the only entity authorised by the Maltese government to act as an agent for the promotion of investment in China.

The report states that this could be set with a certain person named Sai, which the forensic accountant noted as possibly referring to Sai Mizzi Liang, wife of Konrad Mizzi. An emigration agency setup in China was also proposed.

Cheng Chen set up a BVI company in February 2015 via Nexia BT. Times of Malta had revealed that anti-money laundering investigators in the British Virgin Islands sought information on Chen who was a consultant and was involved in the €320 million part-sale of Enemalta.

The forensic accountant said that there was no record that Mizzi or members of his family held bank accounts in Pilatus Bank.

Mizzi reacts

After the Egrant inquiry report was published, Mizzi said that the proposal mentioned in the Inquiry report was not pursued or developed and was therefore declined. In his statement, Mizzi said that the Government receives several proposals for investments, ‘some of which take the shape of a cooperation with Government.’

Further Mizzi said that his wife Sai Mizzi who at the time was a representative of Malta Enterprise in China was not even approached to work on this proposal.

The former Energy and Tourism Minister said that he was “satisfied” that the inquiry confirmed that he had never held bank accounts at Pilatus Bank. He concluded by saying ‘I have never received funds from Azerbaijan, and never committed money laundering. All allegations made against me turned out to be false.’