Caruana Galizia public inquiry: Joe Gasan started doubting Yorgen Fenech's business acumen when 17 Black connection emerged

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continues with the testimony of Joe and Mark Gasan about their involvement in the Electrogas consortium

Joe Gasan forms part of the Electrogas consortium
Joe Gasan forms part of the Electrogas consortium

Joe Gasan started doubting Yorgen Fenech’s business acumen when the connection with 17 Black was outed, the veteran businessman told the Caruana Galizia public inquiry.

Joe and his son Mark Gasan testified today on their shareholding in the Electrogas consortium that operates a gas power station and LNG terminal in Delimara.

In today’s sitting, lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia flashed out two emails circulated by Electrogas officials in which Keith Schembri was also copied in. Until now, Schembri has always denied any involvement whatsoever in the project.

Both Joe and Mark Gasan expressed surprise at Schembri’s inclusion in the email exchange, claiming to have learnt about it today.

Testifying on Yorgen Fenech, Joe Gasan told the inquiry that he knew him as “a bright boy” and business savvy. “My children were at school with him and they said he was good at business. I had no reason to doubt it,” he testified.

However, he said alarm bells were raised when Fenech’s connection to 17 Black emerged.

The Gasan Group chief lifted the lid on the internal problems caused by revelation that Yorgen Fenech owned 17 Black.

“When it came out that Yorgen Fenech had owned 17 Black, his uncle, Ray Fenech was very upset. Yorgen Fenech wrote an email to all Electrogas directors denying it all. When we met as GEM, he denied it to the extent that he went to England with Ray to speak to a very expensive legal firm to talk about suing,” Joe Gasan said.

When it was pointed out that fellow shareholder Paul Apap Bologna had testified that Yorgen Fenech had not replied when confronted about 17 Black, Gasan said Yorgen had denied it to him in person.

“When he returned from London he stopped attending board meetings and was unavailable for a long time… We insisted that he should make a public statement. I remember him saying that he was not too sure if it was worth pursuing the legal action,” Joe Gasan said.

Fenech’s lengthy disappearance from board meetings had also caused a problem of quorum and a proposal was put forward to increase the directors.

Joe Gasan said he did not know whether as is being alleged, the Electrogas deal had anything to do with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder but if there was a connection, he did not want to be a part of it.

“We don't want a part of it so we are looking to exit the consortium and have been doing so for some time. We will not profit from this deal,” he told the board.

Mark Gasan testifies about service fee to Yorgen Fenech

Earlier, Mark Gasan confirmed that Yorgen Fenech, through his company New Energy Supply had to receive a service fee for carrying out the tasks assigned to GEM by the Electrogas consortium.

Mark Gasan admitted that the government was not aware that shareholders were going to be paid a success fee once bank finance was secured.

He said an email he sent to fellow shareholders and company officials asking whether they should speak directly to the minister on the excise tax issue, was based on what the company’s chief operating officer was saying that the tax should not be paid by Electrogas.

Mark Gasan said he was not aware Konrad Mizzi and the OPM’s intrusiveness in Electrogas matters when dealing with journalists’ questions.

He was asked by Comodini Cachia about questions sent by British newspaper The Guardian in April 2018 but he could not recall the incident.

Asked whether he was aware that government was instructing Electrogas on how to address journalists, he replied that he wasn't copied in the email.

His reply prompted Judge Abigail Lofaro to interject: “Didn’t you take an interest in these things? You invested all these millions… How could you not remember questions from The Guardian?”

Mark Gasan reiterated that he could not recall the email in question, which again prompted an incredulous Lofaro to remark that he should remember.

“You're not in your dotage, you're young. You should remember,” the judge said.

However, he expressed surprise when Comodini Cachia said that Konrad Mizzi’s staffers were advising Electrogas on whether or not to give interviews and how to respond to the media.

In the previous sitting on Monday, Electrogas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna continued his testimony.

The public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is tasked with, amongst other things, determining whether the State did all it could to prevent the murder from happening.

Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb just outside her Bidnija home on 16 October 2017.

Three men, George Degiorgio, Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat, have been charged with carrying out the assassination, while Yorgen Fenech is charged with masterminding the murder.

Melvin Theuma, who acted as a middleman between Fenech and the three killers, was granted a presidential pardon last year to tell all.

The inquiry is led by retired judge Michael Mallia and includes former chief justice Joseph Said Pullicino and Judge Abigail Lofaro.

 

12:58 That's it for today. Thank you for following. Kurt Sansone
12:58 The next sitting on Monday will be held behind closed doors and then on Wednesday Assistant Commissioner Alexandra Mamo is expected to testify at 9:30am. Kurt Sansone
12:57 There are no further questions and Joe Gasan leaves the courtroom. Kurt Sansone
12:57 Joe Gasan: “I remember there was concern about the financial situation of Gasol and that’s why I asked for a guarantee from SOCAR.” Kurt Sansone
12:56 He is asked whether the Gasan Group independently verified the financial standing of Gasol. Kurt Sansone
12:55 Joe Gasan: “Bangladesh?” Kurt Sansone
12:54 Comodini Cachia asks if he knew that Fenech was using Electrogas’s projections to carry out an identical project in Bangladesh. Kurt Sansone
12:54 Joe Gasan says he hadn’t enquired why Musayev had resigned from Electrogas. Kurt Sansone
12:53 He says that he was not aware of Keith Schembri’s involvement and did not know about Turab Musayev and the connection with Yorgen Fenech in the Montenegro windfarm project. Kurt Sansone
12:52 Gasan replies it was a concern to them. Kurt Sansone
12:51 Comodini Cachia asks if the board was not concerned about the NAO report because it had government's word that the project would come to fruition. Kurt Sansone
12:50 Joe Gasan: “No.” Kurt Sansone
12:50 Comodini Cachia: “A detailed forensic audit was carried out by UK lawyers in 2020. What had you done in the intervening years? For example, the Auditor highlights the role of Nexia BT in the tendering process? But isn't Nexia the auditor of GEM? Didn't you ask them to remove Nexia and replace them? Didn't you feel the need to do that?” Kurt Sansone
12:49 Gasan: “We have said that we have not.” Kurt Sansone
12:48 “One example: it is very unclear as to whether you had spoken to the government before the 2013 election,” he is told. Kurt Sansone
12:46 Gasan: “You have to be specific on what area...” Kurt Sansone
12:46 He is asked what action was taken to address the areas of concern highlighted by the Auditor General's report. Kurt Sansone
12:45 Joe Gasan: “I'm not sure of the amount but on behalf of GEM, there will be a success fee and he would get half of it.” Kurt Sansone
12:44 He is asked when he became aware of GEM owing €2.5 million to Yorgen Fenech as service fees. Kurt Sansone
12:41 Joe Gasan says he hadn't read it but had seen a synopsis. Kurt Sansone
12:41 He is asked for his reaction to the NAO report. Kurt Sansone
12:40 Joe Gasan says that the board then agreed to appoint another director from each class of shares - three more. The board meetings had a quorum then. “There have been so many attacks... we had done so many good things, employed so many people and now we are being accused of being involved in the horrible murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. We don't believe it is the case. Then we read in the compilation of evidence that Inspector Zahra said that the main reason for the murder was Electrogas. Then there were the personal attacks. We don't know if there was an involvement but if there was we don't want a part of it so we are looking to exit the consortium and have been doing so for some time. We will not profit from this deal.” Kurt Sansone
12:31 The Irish ambassador has just walked into the courtroom. Kurt Sansone
12:30 Joe Gasan says this led to a problem on the GEM board. “We insisted that he should make a public statement. I remember him saying that he was not too sure if it was worth pursuing the legal action,” he says. Kurt Sansone
12:24 Joe Gasan: “Fenech had denied it to me in person. When he returned from London he stopped attending board meetings and was unavailable for a long time.” Kurt Sansone
12:24 Judge Lofaro: “Paul Apap Bologna gave us a different version. Before going to England, the board had asked Yorgen Fenech whether he owned 17 Black and Fenech hadn't replied.” Kurt Sansone
12:23 Joe Gasan: “When the things about 17 Black came out. We then checked Electrogas for payments. Yorgen Fenech denied that 17 Black was his. When it came out that Yorgen Fenech had owned 17 Black, his uncle, Ray Fenech was very upset. Yorgen Fenech wrote an email to all Electrogas directors denying it all. When we met as GEM, he denied it to the extent that he went to England with Ray to speak to a very expensive legal firm to talk about suing.” Kurt Sansone
12:21 Comodini Cachia asks when he had started doubting it. Kurt Sansone
12:20 Joe Gasan: “We jointly had purchased a substantial piece of land in Marsaskala, and also with George, we had just bought the 10,000sq.m of land near the Gasan Centre in Mrieħel. I knew Yorgen Fenech as a bright young boy, business savvy. My children were at school with him and they said he was good at business. I had no reason to doubt it.” Kurt Sansone
12:19 He is asked about the relationship with George Fenech of the Tumas Group. Kurt Sansone
12:18 Gasan adds that both then prime minister Lawrence Gonzi and Opposition leader Joseph Muscat attended the wedding, asking the relevance of the question. He initially says Mizzi but corrects it to Muscat. Kurt Sansone
12:16 Joe Gasan: “I think so.” Kurt Sansone
12:16 Comodini Cachia: “Was Muscat invited to Mark Gasan's wedding in 2011?” Kurt Sansone
12:16 Joe Gasan: “No. I don't think so.” Kurt Sansone
12:15 Comodini Cachia: “Am I right in saying that Joseph Muscat and [your son] Mark Gasan were friends? Did they socialise together?” Kurt Sansone
12:14 Joe Gasan says the original gas power project was reactivated when the Labour Party made it clear that gas was part of its strategy if elected to government. “After the election... George [Fenech] asked if we were interested and we took it to a board to agree in principle if our investment is restricted to €5 million and we will not have an executive role.” Kurt Sansone
12:12 Gasan says that the problem was that there weren't sufficient suppliers of gas turbine providers in the market. “I know they met three companies - Siemens and two others - and only Siemens could do it on time,” he says. Kurt Sansone
12:07 Joe Gasan: “It was a big project and involved a lot of work. We didn't do it alone... we had to put together the consortium and explain why the companies could do the project. We had six weeks to ask Siemens whether they were interested... then another four months for the technical details to be concluded.” Kurt Sansone
12:04 He is being asked about the timeline of the project. Kurt Sansone
12:04 Joe Gasan: “Yes, there were meetings about the MIDI project, more than one, but never for Electrogas… Absolutely not.” Kurt Sansone
12:03 Comodini Cachia asks whether they would discuss projects or proposals. Kurt Sansone
12:02 Joe Gasan: “No… I deny that I met Joseph Muscat with Karmenu Vella at Portomaso. As PM, I always met him at the OPM. The only time I met him on my own was in 2018 when I went to the 90th anniversary of when my father took the Ford Franchise. I had invited him to attend and he had attended.” Kurt Sansone
12:00 Comodini Cachia: “Was there a meeting with the Opposition at all? Karmenu Vella? The spokesperson for energy?” Kurt Sansone
12:00 Joe Gasan: “Yes… I met him on the plane once when I was going to London. He had just become leader of the Opposition. We did not discuss politics or business.” Kurt Sansone
11:59 Comodini Cachia asks Joe Gasan whether he met Joseph Muscat. Kurt Sansone
11:58 Joe Gasan: “We never discussed the project with officials of the Labour Party before the election. Absolutely not.” Kurt Sansone
11:58 He says that they had spoken to General Electric, who were interested and said they could deliver in five years. “At the last minute, Siemens came in and said ‘yes we can do it’,” he says. Kurt Sansone
11:56 He says they discussed the idea with Paul Apap Bologna and Yorgen Fenech. Joe Gasan adds: “It was very interesting to me and Yorgen Fenech, I knew as an intelligent guy. John Zarb of PWC was very involved in the project, carrying out the feasibility study. Yorgen Fenech had suggested him and I had accepted since I knew him. I remember the biggest problem at the time was to find the right company to build the turbines and boilers.” Kurt Sansone
11:54 In February 2013, Joe Gasan says that he was discussing a separate project with George Fenech, Mark Gasan and possibly even Yorgen Fenech. A month earlier, at the start of the electoral campaign the Labour Party unveiled its plans for an LNG terminal and gas power station. Joe Gasan says that when the Labour government won the election, and issued the request for proposals for an LNG terminal and power station, George Fenech spoke to him again. Kurt Sansone
11:50 Paul Apap Bologna and Joe Gasan had gone to Enemalta as part of a delegation which included foreign investors. However, the bid was unsuccessful. Kurt Sansone
11:49 Joe Gasan: “As Gasan Group, going back to 1968 we were always interested in big tenders, especially power stations. In 2008, Paul Apap Bologna who is married to my niece spoke to me as he knew I was interested in the work and said that he had contacts on LNG through some school friend.” Kurt Sansone
11:47 Comodini Cachia asks how his involvement in the Electrogas deal started. Kurt Sansone
11:46 Joe Gasan is next. He is administered the oath. Kurt Sansone
11:46 He steps off the witness stand. Kurt Sansone
11:45 Mark Gasan: “Yes. Definitely.” Kurt Sansone
11:45 Comodini Cachia jibes: “It seems like there were a lot of holes.” Kurt Sansone
11:44 Mark Gasan: “I need to check. But if there was a hole, the shareholders would need to provide the equity.” Kurt Sansone
11:43 Comodini Cachia asks what was the financial hole the company needed to be dug out from and the emergency funding for. Kurt Sansone
11:43 Mark Gasan says that the shareholders’ loan was added over time. “Whenever it was required the shareholders put money in,” he says. Kurt Sansone
11:41 The witness says he doesn't know what hole she was referring to. “I can't recall what issue this is. I recall there was a garnishee order in 2017 but not the year before.” Kurt Sansone
11:38 Comodini Cachia says that on the same day but 90 minutes before that email, another email from Yorgen Fenech to Durfler and others read: ‘Frans please send to the following individuals: Frederick Azzopardi, Keith Schembri [and others]...’ Kurt Sansone
11:37 Mark Gasan: “Yes.” Kurt Sansone
11:36 Comodini Cachia: “Is it the first time you're hearing that Keith Schembri was involved in Electrogas?” Kurt Sansone
11:36 She asks Mark Gasan whether he was aware that Keith Schembri was participating in meetings on Electrogas and where directors were present. “No,” he replies. Kurt Sansone
11:35 Mark Gasan is back on the witness stand. Therese Comodini Cachia asks him about two emails. She shows them to him. One is dated 28 October 2017 and was sent at 7:12pm from Frans Durfler COO of Electrogas to Frederick Azzopardi, Keith Schembri and other Electrogas officials. It reads: ‘Following your meeting with one of our directors (Yorgen Fenech)... lenders have made it clear that the project is not bankable on a project finance basis.’ Kurt Sansone
11:31 Mark Gasan has arrived. The inquiry board will take Joe Gasan's particulars and then Mark Gasan will continue testifying. Kurt Sansone
11:29 They have changed plans. Now Joe Gasan will take the stand. Kurt Sansone
11:27 The board want to recall Mark Gasan back to the stand for another question. Kurt Sansone
11:21 The judges return. Kurt Sansone
11:16 An intelligible conversation ensues. Mark Gasan steps off the stand and this is being sanitised. A short break is announced. Kurt Sansone
11:14 Comodini Cachia now asks about the agreement on the rate of interest charged to Electrogas. She points out that Enemalta charged the company interest at 2% and GEM was charging 6%. She asks the witness whether he is aware that in reply to his proposal of 6%, the reply was that this amount was ‘still high’. Kurt Sansone
11:12 Judge Lofaro interjects: “Then you're not excluding it because that’s what I don't recall means in the English language.” Kurt Sansone
11:12 Gasan: “I don't recall it.” Kurt Sansone
11:11 Comodini Cachia: “Could it have been a lunch or a coffee morning or another venue instead?” Kurt Sansone
11:11 Gasan: “I don't remember this dinner at Portomaso.” Kurt Sansone
11:11 Comodini Cachia: “Did you ever meet Yorgan Fenech and Joseph Muscat for a dinner in Portomaso before 2013?” Kurt Sansone
11:10 Gasan: “No.” Kurt Sansone
11:09 Comodini Cachia: “Do you know Constantine Obermayer?” Kurt Sansone
11:09 Mark Gasan: “Yes.” Kurt Sansone
11:09 Comodini Cachia: “Would you be surprised that Electorgas chose a particular security service because government proposed it?” Kurt Sansone
11:08 Mark Gasan says he is surprised by this. Kurt Sansone
11:08 Comodini Cachia names staffers who worked with Konrad Mizzi - Ronald Mizzi, Lindsay Gambin and Alex Cutajar as advising Electrogas on whether or not to give interviews and how to respond to the media. She says that CVs of Electrogas job applicants were shared with Konrad Mizzi and Ronald Mizzi. Kurt Sansone
11:06 Lofaro: “You're not in your dotage, you're young. You should remember.” Kurt Sansone
11:06 Mark Gasan: “Those emails are what they are...” Kurt Sansone
11:06 Comodini Cachia says her question is about how intrusive the government was in the operations of Electrogas and whether there was collusion between the Office of the Prime Minister and Konrad Mizzi’s office in instructing the shareholders how to deal with the media. Kurt Sansone
11:03 He doesn't recall the email. Kurt Sansone
11:03 Judge Lofaro: “Didn’t you take an interest in these things? You invested all these millions… How could you not remember questions from The Guardian?” Kurt Sansone
11:03 Mark Gasan: “I wasn't copied in the email.” Kurt Sansone
11:02 Comodini Cachia: “Were you aware that the government was actually instructing Electrogas on how to address journalists?” Kurt Sansone
11:02 Comodini Cachia asks the witness about questions sent by British newspaper The Guardian in April 2018. But Gasan says he cannot recall the incident. Kurt Sansone
11:01 Gasan: “No.” Kurt Sansone
11:00 Comodini Cachia reads more emails mentioning the minister: ‘Frederick has to be instructed by KM first.’ She asks him whether he was aware of this relationship with the minister. Kurt Sansone
10:59 Mark Gasan: “Yes.” Kurt Sansone
10:59 Chief justice emeritus Joseph Said Pullicino: “In your mind at that moment you had the perception that going to the minister would resolve the matter more quickly.” Kurt Sansone
10:58 Gasan says he is aware of the email. “I was made aware that there were these issues... [in the email] I'm suggesting that these issues need to be escalated. It's a suggestion.” Kurt Sansone
10:57 Comodini Cachia asks him whether he is aware of an email he had sent on 25 January 2017, in which he referred to pending issues with Enemalta. She reads from the email: ‘Do we skip Enemalta and go straight to the minister. I suggest this should be the first topic on Monday.’ Kurt Sansone
10:56 Mark Gasan says the first time he met Konrad Mizzi was when the power station was actually inaugurated. Kurt Sansone
10:55 Mark Gasan: “My understanding is that the project was a complicated one. After Electrogas was awarded the bid, it wasn’t like a normal contract when you sign it and get on with it. A lot of points needed to be negotiated and agreed upon in the process, and my understanding is that the minister would get involved. Personally, I never attended those meetings but that’s what I understand.” Kurt Sansone
10:54 Comodini Cachia: “Were you aware of how Electrogas dealt with different government agencies? For example, what was its relationship with Konrad Mizzi?” Kurt Sansone
10:54 Asked about Konrad Mizzi’s involvement, Gasan replies: “The project was a complex one.” Asked whether it was reliant on Konrad Mizzi, Gasan reiterates that he was not involved in the negotiations. Kurt Sansone
10:53 Mark Gasan then launches into another lengthy explanation to a simple yes or no question. Kurt Sansone
10:52 Lofaro does not appear convinced, saying “yes, of course,” sarcastically. “He has not answered you,” says Lofaro to Comodini Cachia. Kurt Sansone
10:51 Mark Gasan: “Your honour the CFO was telling me that it is not payable by Electrogas. I based my email on what I heard from the CFO, which said Electrogas’s position was that Enemalta should shoulder these costs. I was not made aware of the issue [raised by Comodini Cachia].” Kurt Sansone
10:49 Comodini Cachia: “Are you aware that you were initially advised that your financial model as given to the government included the payment of excise duty by yourselves and not by the government?” Kurt Sansone
10:49 Mark Gasan: “If it was payable to Enemalta, then obviously yes.” Kurt Sansone
10:48 Comodini Cachia: “You're telling me that if you had paid the excise duty it would have turned negative.” Kurt Sansone
10:48 He is asked about an email he sent when Electrogas shareholders were discussing the excise tax issue. “My email concerned what I was hearing from the CFO that Electorgas shouldn't pay the excise tax. All I was saying was that it needs to be resolved.” Kurt Sansone
10:47 Mark Gasan says that in the end, the shareholders put up all their equity €100 million, as a shareholders’ loan to Electrogas and that carries interest. He objects to it being called an ‘accounting exercise’. Kurt Sansone
10:44 Mark Gasan: “No, but the interest has not been paid yet.” Kurt Sansone
10:44 Comodini Cachia: “Are they interest free loans?” Kurt Sansone
10:43 Mark Gasan: “Yes.” Kurt Sansone
10:43 Comodini Cachia: “Are there shareholders loans provided by GEM to Electrogas?” Kurt Sansone
10:42 Mark Gasan: “In reality yes.” Kurt Sansone
10:41 Comodini Cachia: “What you're telling me is that you accepted to waive your success fees and this was simply an accounting exercise?” Kurt Sansone
10:40 Mark Gasan: “No... it’s a cost. The 2014 agreement was drafted by GVZH.” Kurt Sansone
10:39 Comodini Cachia: “Is there an agreement on how GEM will be refunded?” Kurt Sansone
10:39 Mark Gasan: “Yes.” Kurt Sansone
10:38 It is pointed out that the question is about 2016 not today. Comodini Cachia: “Are you saying that GEM paid the charges instead of Electrogas?” Kurt Sansone
10:37 “Today the issue of overcompensation of shareholders is not there,” Mark Gasan says. “In reality, the situation of State aid, due to cost overruns, the shareholders are not overcompensated. The IAR today is much less.” Kurt Sansone
10:35 He is asked about his involvement when e-Cubed Consultants were brought in. An email asking about an agreement is read out. The development and success fees had gone up to €18 million. Was he aware that it could jeopardise the agreement under State aid rules? Kurt Sansone
10:34 He finally says he would be copied when he started getting more involved. Kurt Sansone
10:34 Mark Gasan: “Am I copied?” Kurt Sansone
10:33 Lofaro: “Were you copied or not?” Kurt Sansone
10:33 Mark Gasan: “What do you mean? I started to get involved in late 2015.” Kurt Sansone
10:31 Comodini Cachia: “In 2016, if an email is sent to the board would you have received a copy of the email?” Kurt Sansone
10:26 Mark Gasan says that a year and a half later when Electrogas could not get to financial close... the issue was how to get the project off the ground. “My understanding is that the government guarantee came into it and this amounted to €12 million,” he says. Kurt Sansone
10:25 Mark Gasan: “I was informed recently, there was a review done by external consultants and they had a high-level presentation to the shareholders. They advised that in their opinion the €1.5 million was to be paid directly to New Energy Supply. The forensic audit showed that GEM paid €1 million and Gasol paid €1.5 million to NES.” Kurt Sansone
10:24 Comodini Cachia: “Do you know if New Energy Supply (NES) charged Gasol separately?” Kurt Sansone
10:22 Mark Gasan: “Gasol never paid €1.5 million, despite receiving the €2 million from Electrogas. My understanding is that it was encountering financial difficulties.” Kurt Sansone
10:21 Comodini Cachia: “The €1.5 million Gasol-GEM transaction, was it part of the amount charged as a development fee?” Kurt Sansone
10:21 Mark Gasan says that in reality GEM only received €2 million from Electrogas. Kurt Sansone
10:20 Comodini Cachia: “So, in this agreement you’re undertaking to pay €2.5 million to Yorgen Fenech for taking the lead and performing the services you were meant to perform for Electrogas.” Kurt Sansone
10:19 Mark Gasan: “The agreement among GEM shareholders from day one was that Yorgen would look after these tasks.” Kurt Sansone
10:18 Comodini Cachia tries to tease out the structure of the agreement from the witness who is bombarding the board with figures. Kurt Sansone
10:17 Mark Gasan: “Gasol owed €1.5 million and Electrogas €2million.” Kurt Sansone
10:13 Comodini Cachia: “Back in June 2014, I understand that GEM was due money by Gasol and Electrogas.” Kurt Sansone
10:12 Mark Gasan protests that it is a complicated agreement. Kurt Sansone
10:12 Lofaro: “Was the European Commission made aware of the success fees? Am I right in saying that Oxera and the government were not made aware of the success fees? You can go around in circles all you like but in the end you have to answer.” Kurt Sansone
10:11 Mark Gasan: “No...” Kurt Sansone
10:10 Mark Gasan proceeds to give a breakdown of the payments instead of answering. The board insists he answers the question. Kurt Sansone
10:09 Mallia: “Was the government aware that you were being paid success fees?” Kurt Sansone
10:08 Mark Gasan: “€6.5 million were reinvested. One year later these were increased to €12 million. The lenders of Electrogas weren't going to loan the money until the State aid was cleared. The €12 million was to cover the bank charges and other costs. There was a formula and each shareholder had to pay €3.6 million plus bank charges. €11 million was physically paid to government for the guarantee.” Kurt Sansone
10:05 Mallia: “Was Oxera aware of the success fees?” Kurt Sansone
10:03 Retired judge Michael Mallia, who heads the inquiry board, asks who computed the sum. “John Zarb from PWC,” replies the witness. He adds that government appointed Oxera to help consult about State aid issues. Kurt Sansone
10:02 Madam Justice Abigail Lofaro says this account differs greatly from what the board had been told before. When asked for a list of the tasks, Gasan points to the agreement, saying there were many. He says the two agreements were also part of the financial package agreed upon... in 2014. He adds that leading up to the bridge loan, all these tasks were completed. Kurt Sansone
10:00 Mark Gasan says he was not party to the negotiations of the agreement, which had an “exhaustive list of tasks”. He specifies that there are two different agreements. One was a success agreement payable to all shareholders upon the successful completion of the project and another one for €6.5 million. Kurt Sansone
09:52 Comodini Cachia says that the fee clause in the Electrogas agreement does not refer to what he is saying. Mark Gasan says it does. He finds the clause. Kurt Sansone
09:50 Comodini Cachia points out that when she had asked how much money GEM was expecting from Electrogas the inquiry was told €2 million. She asks why GEM had then agreed to pay €2.5 million to Yorgen Fenech’s New Energy. Kurt Sansone
09:49 Mark Gasan: “No, the agreement is that GEM would pay €2.5 million.” Kurt Sansone
09:49 She points out that the agreement indicates that the amount is €2.5 million. Kurt Sansone
09:48 Comodini Cachia asks how much GEM was going to get from the Electrogas deal. Kurt Sansone
09:47 He is asked about the agreement the Maltese partners had with Yorgen Fenech’s New Energy Supply Ltd and the fees that were paid out. Mark Gasan says the agreement was with GEM Ltd (the name of the company formed by all the Maltese partners – the Gasans, Tumas Fenech and Paul Apap Bologna. Kurt Sansone
09:44 Mark Gasan: “I believe it was from 2017… 2018 or 2019, probably.” Kurt Sansone
09:43 Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia asks him about the time he had talked about when Yorgen Fenech was not particularly present at Electorgas. Could he indicate the time frame? Kurt Sansone
09:42 The judges have entered the courtroom and the sitting begins. Mark Gasan is called in and takes the stand. He is administered the oath by the judges. Kurt Sansone
09:41 Good morning. Kurt Sansone

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