Trafigura, TOTSA paid $3.2 billion for fuel oil in 13 years

Oil companies were represented by oil trader George Farrugia

Enemalta corporation paid the oil companies Trafigura and TOTSA a total of $3.2 billion dollars over a period of 13 years, representing 70% of all the oil sold to Enemalta in this period.

The two oil companies, having in the past been alleged of engaging in corrupt practices in the sale of fuels, were represented in Malta by rogue oil trader George Farrugia.

Farrugia was granted a presidential pardon in February 2013 to tell police investigators of the network of bribes he set up to pay off Enemalta officials for the procurement of oil for the state utility company.

Farrugia was accused by his brothers – the shareholders in family firm John’s Group – of siphoning profits from subsidiary Powerplan, into his private firm Aikon Limited. A cache of invoices of Aikon’s orders from Trafigura and TOTSA were deposited in court by the John’s Group, who accused Farrugia of embezzling some €6 million. The parties later settled out of court.

Farrugia’s wife Cathy, who worked alongside her husband George in invoicing Trafigura and TOTSA, appears in front of the Public Accountability Committee today, Wednesday, in parliament.

In 2012, a security detail assigned to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi passed on the cache of emails on Aikon to the prime minister, who however insisted they be passed on to the head of the Security Service. The emails ended up in the finance ministry, and used for a Tax Compliance Unit investigation. But corruption claims on the procurement of oil were never flagged until MaltaToday published a crucial email in February 2013 showing a payment from Trafigura to MOBC chief executive Frank Sammut for the supply of oil.

Farrugia has always insisted that his brothers were aware of his attempts to bribe Enemalta officials. Last month the police arraigned the five Farrugia brothers, who have pleaded not guilty to the charges of bribery.