U.S. imposes travel ban on former maltese high ranking politicians
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The United States governement imposed a travel ban on former energy minister Konrad Mizzi and the former Chief of Staff of ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri. The US Department of State announced that the decision was taken due to Mizzìs and Schembrìs involvement in significant corruption. In an official statement, the Department of State said that in their official capacities as Minister of Energy and Conservation of Water and Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Mizzi and Schembri were involved in corrupt acts that included using their political influence and official power for their personal benefit. “Specifically, there is credible information that Mizzi and Schembri were involved in a corrupt scheme that entailed the award of a government contract for the construction of a power plant and related services in exchange for kickbacks and bribes. Their actions undermined the rule of law and the Maltese public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes.”
Konrad Mizzi was expelled from Labour’s parliamentary group in 2020 after he came under attack in connection with the Enemalta Mozura wind farm scandal. However Mizzi remained as an independent MP. Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech accused as the mastermind behind the killing of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had made millions through his company 17 Black by making profit off a wind farm project Enemalta bought in Montenegro in late 2015. Both Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi were mentioned in the Panama Papers. Mizzi was the only EU minister to be revealed in the data leak. Daphne Caruana Galizia had disclosed that Schembri and Mizzi opened offshore companies after the 2013 general election and created trusts in New Zealand. Tillgate Inc. and Hearnville Inc. owned by Schembri and Mizzi respectively were expected to receive payments from a secret company 17 Black based in Dubai owned by Tumas Group Chief Executive Officer and Electrogas director Yorgen Fenech. The company had an account at Noor Bank in Dubai.
Earlier this year, it was also revealed that Macbridge, a second secret company intended to direct money to Schembrìs and Mizzìs offshore structure was linked to a Chinese negotatior. The owner of Macbridge was Tang Zhaomin, the mother-in-law of Chen Cheng, a key negotiator in the acquisition of a 33% stake in Enemalta by a Chinese state-owned company. Emails had listed two secret companies – Macbridge and 17 Black – as target clients for the Panama companies established by Schembri and Mizzi, stating that they would provide some 5,000 a day in funding.