Updated | FIAU denies ‘conclusive report’ on alleged kickbacks from LNG tanker owners

The Malta Independent says the FIAU had investigated a link between Dubai company for the transfer of money from the LNG tanker owners to Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi • FIAU denies 'existence of any conclusive reports'

Minister Konrad Mizzi (left) and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri (right)
Minister Konrad Mizzi (left) and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri (right)

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) would have investigated the links between the owners of the LNG tanker and a Dubai company that could have been used to transfer payments to the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and minister Konrad Mizzi, according to a newspaper report.

But the FIAU, in a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, has denied that any such “conclusive report” exists, or any “conclusions as alleged”.

According to the Malta Independent, a report by the FIAU that has yet to be concluded, would have revealed the transfer of money from a company connected to the LNG tanker, to a Dubai company connected to the former energy minister Konrad Mizzi and Schembri.

The Malta Independent said that the FIAU had investigated the transfer of money from Armada Floating Gas Services Malta, owners of the LNG tanker berthed in Marsaxlokk, to a Dubai-based company.

The news was broken just 30 minutes before the Labour and PN leaders face off in a televised debate on Xarabank.

The 120-page report is still inside the FIAU’s office awaiting conclusion, according to the newspaper.

But extracts seen by the newspaper would show that there were two attempts to transfer money from the Dubai company 17 Black from Orion Engineering Group, a company registered at the same address as Armada Floating Gas Services Malta, in Msida.

According to the investigation, 17 Black – which name was first floated on the blog of Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia – would have been purposely created for the transfer of money through the Panamanian companies that Mizzi and Schembri, sometime in July 2015.

The ownership of the Dubai company was not stated in the newspaper report.

The FIAU also discovered that Mizzi had travelled to Dubai in person to present documentation to the bank, to open a bank account that would have been connected to his Panama company and his New Zealand trust.

Both Mizzi and Schembri have denied the allegations, with Mizzi insisting that it was “a blatant lie”.

On his part, Schembri said that any contention he sought, or received, kickbacks, or commissions or any other kind of payment while in government is false.

"I have always maintained this, for it is the truth. I have been subject to a coordinated smear campaign for well over a year, but this latest fabrication is nothing short of criminal. Simon Busuttil’s latest publicity stunt shows how desperate he is for power and will not think twice to put at risk the country’s economic future - and our most basic principles of fairness and justice."