Malta police say they have started Montenegro wind farm investigations

  • The wind farm was acquired by Enemalta in a lucrative deal for Yorgen Fenech during the tenure of former minister Konrad Mizzi.
  • Police make no mention of Europol Joint Investigative Team (JIT) suggested by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation.

 

Former PM Joseph Muscat inaugurating the Montenegro wind farm in November last year just before stepping down in a political storm that implicated his chief of staff in Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder
Former PM Joseph Muscat inaugurating the Montenegro wind farm in November last year just before stepping down in a political storm that implicated his chief of staff in Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder

The police say they have been investigating the Montenegro wind farm deal, now at the centre of corruption allegations, for some time.

This emerged from a statement issued by the police following a story by Reuters and the Times of Malta, in which Dubai based company 17 Black was revealed to have made a previously undisclosed profit of €4.6 million when Enemalta bought a wind farm in Montenegro. The wind farm was acquired by Enemalta in a lucrative deal for Yorgen Fenech during the tenure of former minister Konrad Mizzi,

Fenech is currently charged with masterminding the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was investigating the deal at the time of her death.

“The Police had already started investigating the issue in question in collaboration with Europol and with the assistance of other competent authorities. This prior to the media reports of the past hours,” said the police in a statement.

The Montenegrin project, backed strongly by Joseph Muscat as PM and Konrad Mizzi as energy minister, could implicate not just Yorgen Fenech but potentially Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri. Both Mizzi and Schembri’s secret offshore companies in Panama had named Fenech’s 17 Black, an offshore firm registered in Dubai, as their target client.

The announcement falls short of yesterday's request for a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) made by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation. "We reiterate our call on Malta’s Attorney General to initiate a Europol Joint Investigation Team with urgency. Malta’s European partners are ready and willing to help our country stand up to the violence of this corruption," the Foundation had said in a statement yesterday.

"We welcome Prime Minister Robert Abela’s statement that Malta’s police force will be given more resources 'if needed'. It has never been clearer that Maltese law enforcement, which collapsed under the weight of Fenech, Mizzi and Schembri’s international corruption during Joseph Muscat’s government, needs assistance. The scale and extent of the transnational crime exposed by Daphne Caruana Galizia and the journalists continuing her work can only be properly investigated by an international team unrestricted by national borders."

How JITs work 

The competent authorities in one or more Member States, joined by authorities from outside the EU, may decide to set up a JIT for a specific purpose and for a limited period (which may be extended by mutual agreement). A JIT team can consist of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other relevant personnel.

The JIT is led by a member from the country in which the JIT is based, and it is the law of that country that governs the JIT’s activities.

Europol supports JITs in a number of ways, such as by showing the big picture and identifying links between related cases and investigations. It also liaises directly with JIT members, providing members with information and offers analytical and logistical support, as well as technical and forensic expertise.

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