Businessmen with Malta connections in Panama Papers

Chairman of the Zammit Group Joseph Zammit is given scant reference in the Panama Papers

One of the Maltese businessmen given scant reference in the Panama Papers is Joseph Zammit, chairman of the Zammit Group.

He released no comment on his set-up when called at his home by MaltaToday in the week that the full ICIJ database was released.

His company is Aburrah Limited, a reading backwards of his St Paul’s Bay home’s name ‘Harruba’ (carob, in Maltese). Aburrah was registered by Mossack Fonseca in 2002 in the British Virgin Islands, through the intermediary Karm Borg.

In Malta, Borg runs Industrial and Financial Limited, a company which in the Panama Papers appears as the intermediary for other BVI companies: Verdi Investment Resources, Mediterranean Charter, Northwind Venture Capital, and Alastair Projects.

Alastair Projects could be, although MaltaToday is not in possession of any supporting documents, the property of Zammit’s son Alastair, one of the directors of the Zammit Group family business.

Both Verdi Investment’s and Northwind’s beneficiary is superyacht businessman Slim Bouricha, founder of the Dutch shipyard Lynx Yachts. 

Bouricha also appears registered as the 100% owner of Industrial and Financial Limited, and subsidiaries Beender Limited and Beender Africa. In the Panama Papers, the BVI company Beender International Contractors, an oil servicing company whose beneficiary is Bouricha, is also registered in Qormi.

Karm Borg also registered the BVI company Vanda Services in 2010 for Joseph Zammit and a business associate of his, Cherif Ben Khelifa.

Ben Khelifa is a director on the company TuNur, a 2 GigaWatt solar export project from Tunisia to Europe running through a transmission line that will land in Italy. Ben Khelifa formerly worked for Total in Abu Dhabi and roped in Zammit as chairman of TuNur, the latter having spent 35 years in providing maritime support to AGIP, Shell, Amoco, and Marathon. The TuNur solar power station is owned by Britain’s Nur Energie group, and will need $10 billion to set up the project.

Refik Arif

A Kazakh national named Refik Arif is also found in the ICIJ database. His intermediaries in Malta were Hamels, and is believed to be one of the principals of the Doyen Group, whose interests include the sports marketing firm Doyen Sports as well as natural resources in Kazakhstan.

His British Virgin Islands offshore firms, incorporated by Hamels (Malta), comprise Dalston Ventures Ltd, Bennington Group Assets – which holds a London property – and Merlin Trading Assets Ltd, which owns a Bombardier Challenger 604 aircraft.

Doyen Sports, which is based in Malta, has grown in recent years to become a major investor in top soccer talent from Brazil to countries across Europe. Its other interests include player management, consulting and investing in image rights of players, including Barcelona and Brazil forward Neymar, one of soccer’s biggest talents.

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