'Ferry flight' leaves Luqa in middle of the night, destination Azerbaijan

Flight tracking website confirms flight path, as charter company's spokesman insists with MaltaToday flight carried no passenger or cargo

The flight path of the Challenger 850
The flight path of the Challenger 850

A Bombardier Challenger 850 private jet (9H-ILZ), operated by VistaJet Malta, left Luqa Airport at 3.56am this morning headed for Baku in Azerbaijan, MaltaToday has learned.

The flight takes around eight hours with a possible refuelling stop in Greece or Turkey.

Global flight tracking site FlightRadar confirmed the plane's departure time and flight path however.

James Leviton, on behalf of Vistajet's PR firm Finsbury, confirmed the flight to Baku, but said there was no one aboard.

"I can confirm that there was a flight to Azerbaijan but it had no passengers or cargo. It was purely a ferry flight," he said.

The flight has generated considerable intense interest and speculation on social media, following Thursday evening’s events.

At around 7pm on Thursday, The Malta Independent columnist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia claimed that documents stored in a safe at Pilatus Bank in Ta’ Xbiex showed that Michelle Muscat, wife of prime minister Joseph Muscat, owned shares in the company Egrant, whose ownership had as yet been unknown.

Shortly thereafter, Net TV published footage of the bank’s chairman and its ultimate beneficial owner, Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, exiting from the bank’s side door with the bank’s risk manager Antoniella Gauci, and carrying two large suitcases.

Muscat denied allegations that the offshore company in Panama, set up by the audit firm Nexia BT and revealed during 2016’s Panama Papers leaks, belonged to his wife Michelle.

He later announced he had asked the Commissioner of Police to appoint an inquiring magistrate to investigate the allegations published on Thursday, by blogger and Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia.