Malta: Yorgen Fenech’s 61 connected companies under scrutiny
28 Nov 2019

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) has launched a massive hunt for information regarding any possible financial transactions made by former Tumas Group CEO Yorgen Fenech or any of the 61 companies connected to him over the past years.

In “strictly confidential” correspondence sent to all financial practitioners and financial services providers, including banks, the FIAU gave them until the end of this week to provide the authorities with traces of transactions, documents and other related correspondence.

“The searches conducted should confirm whether the indicated persons are the beneficial owners of a legal entity which you have at present or had in the past any business relationship with or on whose behalf you hold at present or held in the past any assets.

“Your searches should also verify whether the said persons are, or were, the settlers, donors, contributors, protectors, trustees, and beneficiaries under trust, trust account or other trust-related relationship with your institution,” the correspondence says.

Sources in the financial intelligence industry welcomed the move by the FIAU.

“This is a bold move by the independent authorities, which may discover much more than we know. Money laundering is a very serious crime and no stone shall be left unturned as this may indicate many connections which until now have been left in dark filing cabinets,” the sources said.

Apart from Mr Fenech individually, information about 61 companies and their relationships with the former Tumas Group CEO and owner of 17 Black is being sought.

Not all the 61 companies are still active as some of them have been liquidated or merged with others.

The companies connected with the new power station, including Electrogas and GEM holdings, are among those being scrutinised.

The €400-million power station, one of Labour’s most-highly criticised projects, particularly due to allegations of corruption, is owned by a consortium formed by Germany’s Siemens, Azerbaijan’s Socar and a group of Maltese businessmen led by Mr Fenech.

The Maltese shareholders also include the owners of the Gasan Group and Paul Apap Bologna, whose family is related to the Gasans and who is the managing director of the Associated Drug Company, a medicines importer, among other business interests.

The companies listed by the FIAU also show the close business connection established in recent years between the Tumas and the Gasan groups.

Apart from the power station, the two business conglomerates own property developments around the country and are currently together building The Quad, a four-tower mixed development in Mrieħel.

Joe Gasan and his son, Mark, sit on various boards together with the Fenechs.

A few years ago, leaked FIAU reports had indicated there was clear suspicion of money laundering activities involving the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, outgoing Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna and the former managing director of Allied Newspapers, Adrian Hillman.

The police had not followed on these investigations despite the various reports.

Read more at Times of Malta

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