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Labour, Ann Fenech trade barbs over Panama links

Labour Party blasts Ann Fenech’s ‘hypocrisy’ after Panama database shows Fenech firm in Mossack Fonseca company creation, Fenech insists she owns no companies in Panama 

6 March 2016, 11:16am
PN executive president Ann Fenech (left) and PN leader Simon Busuttil (right) are hardly in a position to preach, given the hypocrisy which has reached new levels, the Labour Party said on Sunday.
PN executive president Ann Fenech (left) and PN leader Simon Busuttil (right) are hardly in a position to preach, given the hypocrisy which has reached new levels, the Labour Party said on Sunday.
Ann Fenech, the President of the PN executive council who was revealed to be a director in a legal firm with a connection to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, has insisted that she does not own a company in Panama.

On Sunday, MaltaToday revealed that Mossack Fonseca – the law firm notorious for doing the bidding of nefarious oligarchs the world over – has been employed as a choice firm for the creation of offshore companies by more than one Maltese legal and financial services firm.

And according to a database containing over 1 million names which helped call attention to offshore money that uses Panama to hide ownership and money trails, one firm listed as the director of a Panama company whose agent is also listed as Mossack Fonseca, is Fenlex Corporate Services Ltd – the legal firm of whose partner is Ann Fenech.

Fenech yesterday told this newspaper she had no knowledge of the company Timber Trading Capital Inc., which was incorporated in 2003 with Fenlex; the agent for the company was Mossack Fonseca.

Taking Fenech to task, the Labour Party on Sunday, blasted her “hypocrisy” for having said that it is not right for a person to have a company in Panama, only for it to be revealed that she was involved in one.

In a statement, the PL insisted that whereas the government would humbly learn from its mistakes, Simon Busutitl and the Nationalist Party are hardly in a position to preach, given the hypocrisy which has reached new levels.

“Old habits die hard… Simon Busuttil will be carrying Ann Fenech with him for the partisan protest this afternoon when Fenech has been involved in Panama companies since 2003.”

“Whereas Konrad Mizzi declared everything, Ann Fenech kept everything under wraps,” the Labour Party said.

Refuting suggestions that she owns a company in Panama, Fenech, the PN’s executive president, hit back, insisting that she had never owned a company in Panama.

“The latest attempt to link me to ownership of companies in Panama by the Labour Party is completely futile and is no doubt engineered to divert attention away from Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri who are embroiled in the biggest ever political scandal in our country.”

“I do not have, nor have I ever had a company in Panama, unlike Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri who have a company in the blacklisted jurisdiction,” Fenech said.

Reiterating her comments to MaltaToday, Fenech explained that in 2003, Fenlex, had provided its professional services to a client in order to register a company in Panama on their behalf.

“At the time Panama was not blacklisted. Moreover I was never involved in such work or such a registration. Fenlex does not offer registration of companies in Panama any longer,” she said.

The PN executive president, who on Friday sued PL Leader Joseph Muscat and party president Daniel Micallef over Panama allegations, insisted that the latest attempt by the Labour Party to besmirch her reputation by tying her to a legal firm’s Panama connection was “an attempt to divert public attention from the scandals of the government.”

“The government is trying to blur the clear difference between a Minister and Chief of Staff opening a company in a blacklisted tax have after having taken important government posts for personal gain, and the operations of Malta's financial services sector that offers trust and fiduciary services to local and foreign clients,” Dr Fenech said.

“Joseph Muscat continues to attack the companies forming the financial services sector in our country. The Nationalist Party invested a lot of energy in creating a successful and strong financial services sector, bringing jobs and wealth to the Maltese economy. We will not let Joseph Muscat continue to try and hide his scandals by throwing dirt onto the reputation of Malta's financial services sector,” she continued.  

The PL later issued another statement claiming that Fenech has removed the link to from her company’s website, in an attempt to “cover up her tracks”.

“If she had nothing to hide, she wouldn’t have removed the link,” the statement reads, questioning what Fenlex’s two companies registered in Panama- Timber Trading Ltd and Union Private Ltd Inc- actually do.