Fenech Adami and Tonio Fenech on list of Panama Papers committee invitees

EPP says Labour lobbying for Nationalist MPs to be included in Panama Papers delegation meetings

Clockwise from left: Beppe Fenech Adami, Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi,  Ninu Zammit, and Tonio Fenech
Clockwise from left: Beppe Fenech Adami, Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, Ninu Zammit, and Tonio Fenech

The Panama Papers committee of the European Parliament wants to speak to Nationalist MPs Tonio Fenech and Beppe Fenech Adami.

On 20 February, the PANA committee will send a delegation to Malta to meet with representatives from business, academics, media and NGOs, the Tax Compliance Unit, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, MPs, as well as Edward Scicluna.

The committee’s remit also includes an investigation of alleged breaches of money-laundering, tax avoidance and evasion rules across the EU.

The EPP is insisting that the list of invitees is a draft list, and that no decision has been taken with regard to any person who may or may not be invited to speak to the Committee. "Labour is lobbying to include Tonio Fenech and Beppe Fenech Adami in the list of invitees. These efforts constitute nothing more than a feeble attempt to distract attention from Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri who were caught opening secret companies in which they planned to deposit millions," the office of Nationalist MEP David Casa said.

Both Schembri and Mizzi were identified by the ICIJ has having opened secret offshore companies in Panama and sought to find an interational bank that could take large deposits for alleged business earnings. The revelations prompted two large anti-corruption protests led by the PN.

But Casa said the request for Fenech and Fenech Adami to be invited by the PANA committee to testify was a cynical ploy to equate the Opposition with Mizzi.

Tonio Fenech, a former finance minister, is an auditor who hit the headlines last year as the director of Falcon Funds, a private pension that was kicked off the Swedish pension platform over allegations of irregularities and is now being investigated by the Stockholm economic crimes authority. The fund went under the control of auditors KPMG under instruction of the Maltese regulator.

Also last year, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat ordered an inquiry into reports by MaltaToday that a police investigation into suspected money laundering was not pursued when Beppe Fenech Adami’s name cropped up as the director of the fiduciary that serviced the suspected client. At the time, Fenech Adami was parliamentary assistant responsible for the home affairs but also served as the non-executive director of Baltimore Fiduciary Services, which held the shares of another company, CapitalOne, which, in 2013, was investigated by the Dutch and local authorities over money-laundering allegations.

Fenech Adami has said he did not even know the police were investigating the company.

The Times also reported that the PANA committee has invited minister Konrad Mizzi, and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, to testify, after the two men were found to have opened secret Panama companies.

Former Nationalist minister Ninu Zammit, who was found to have held $3.2 million in a secret Swiss account during his time as minister under the Swissleaks investigation by the ICIJ, was also invited to testify.

The full list is:

• Meeting with representatives from business, academics and NGOs

• Law firms/tax advisor: • EMD Advisory (Pierre Mifsud) • Deloitte Malta • Mossack Fonseca Malta • Nexia BT

• Journalists: Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta Independent), Ivan Camilleri (The Times), Saviour Balzan (MaltaToday), Aleander Balzan (One News)

• Banks: Sparkasse Bank

• Meeting with tax administration (Tax Compliance Unit), Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) and police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, Malta Financial Service Authority • Ms Marianne Scicluna [Director General] and Dr Anton Bartolo [Director Enforcement]

• Meeting with members of National Parliament: Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri, Ninu Zammit, Mary Ellen Mercieca, secretary in rural affairs ministry, Beppe Fenech Adami, Tonio Fenech, and finance minister Edward Scicluna

Members of the European Parliament’s committee of inquiry into the Panama Papers have requested finance minister Edward Scicluna to present himself for an exchange of views with MEPs from both the PANA and the Economic Affairs committees, on 26 January.

“The purpose would be to discuss Presidency priorities as well as the state of play of discussions in Council on current and upcoming legislative proposals such as the proposal for a revision of the fourth anti-money-laundering directive (4AMLD), and the state of play of implementation and enforcement of existing legislation (3AMLD),” committee chairmen Werner Langen and Roberto Gaultieri said.