Malta police make fresh ‘complete’ request for 17 Black information from UAE – Casa

The United Arab Emirates received a ‘complete request’ in August from the Maltese authorities for information on 17 Black, PN MEP David Casa says

David Casa (inset) has been campaigning with the UAE to release information on Yorgen Fenech's Dubai-based company 17 Black
David Casa (inset) has been campaigning with the UAE to release information on Yorgen Fenech's Dubai-based company 17 Black

Maltese police filed a formal request for information from the United Arab Emirates on 17 Black last month, according to Nationalist MEP David Casa.

He described the police application filed on 24 August as “a complete request”, which will allow the UAE authorities to transfer information through official channels.

Casa said that this request was unlike previous applications filed by the police, which were deemed to be incomplete. This led to a lack of progress in the investigation with the Malta police claiming that Dubai was uncooperative.

“We are one crucial step closer to ensuring that all those involved in the corruption over which Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered, are brought to justice,” Casa said.

The link between the Dubai-registered company 17 Black and the Panama companies of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri was revealed by journalists in April 2018.

17 Black and a second company, Macbridge, were listed as a target clients of the Panama companies, with Schembri confirming the intention to do business with them.

Until then, the owners of 17 Black and Macbridge were unknown, and Schembri insisted he did not know who they belonged to.

However, in November 2018, a Reuter’s investigation revealed that business magnate Yorgen Fenech owned 17 Black. Fenech is a shareholder in the Electrogas consortium that had won a lucrative power station contract.

A year later, Fenech was arrested and accused of masterminding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Casa said the complete request for information from the UAE on 17 Black’s actions there was vital to prosecute those involved in high-level corruption and money laundering associated with 17 Black.

“I am informed that, finally, the United Arab Emirates have received a complete request from the Maltese authorities on 24 August 2020. It is shameful that it has taken this long to get this right. The Maltese authorities should have ensured that the correct request for this information was submitted immediately following the revelations. Instead, incomplete requests were sent, and lack of progress was justified with the claim that Dubai was uncooperative,” Casa said.

The PN MEP had communicated with the Dubai bank that held 17 Black’s account, sent information to the UAE’s Attorney General and Financial Intelligence Unit and has held high level meetings with UAE officials to ensure a resolution to the impasse.

In August, Casa testified during the Caruana Galizia public inquiry and informed the board that over the past months, he received information from Dubai that rubbished claims made by high-level Maltese officials that the UAE authorities were not cooperating in the investigation on 17 Black.

“The complete request that was just submitted raises serious questions on the veracity of evidence given under oath by members of the Maltese police force. The circumstances that allowed a complete request to be delayed for so long must be investigated,” he insisted.

In one of the first decisions taken by the new police commissioner Angelo Gafa earlier this year, Ian Abdilla was replaced as the head of the Economic Crimes Unit with Assistant Commissioner Alexandra Mamo.

Abdilla had testified that the UAE authorities were not cooperating with the Malta police in their investigation on 17 Black.

MaltaToday has reached out to the police force for an official comment.

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