Nexia partner Karl Cini called in for police questioning on Egrant

Karl Cini, who set up the Panama company Egrant, questioned at length by police as ongoing investigations prompted by the Egrant inquiry continued • Lawyer Peter Fenech also seen at police headquarters

Nexia BT managing partner Karl Cini was the one who helped open the company Egrant
Nexia BT managing partner Karl Cini was the one who helped open the company Egrant

The Maltese police has questioned Nexia BT managing partner Karl Cini over his involvement in the formation of the Panamanian company Egrant.

Sources told MaltaToday that over the last few days, the police questioned Cini as investigations prompted by the Egrant inquiry continued. The sources said that lawyer Peter Fenech, who is the legal representative of the Malta Independent, was also invited to police headquarters, in relation to the Egrant inquiry.

It is not yet clear why Fenech was called in by the police. MaltaToday has reached out to Fenech for a comment but is still awaiting a reply.

The Egrant inquiry was finalised last month by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja. He concluded that there was no evidence that Egrant was owned by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat or his spouse Michelle Muscat.

Cini was the person who liaised with Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in order to open the companies Hearnville and Tillgate for minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri respectively, as well as the company Egrant.

Peter Fenech (right)
Peter Fenech (right)

While email evidence from the Panama Papers clearly links the first two companies to Mizzi and Schembri, the ultimate beneficial owner of Egrant was never listed in an email but communicated via Skype by Cini.

According to the Malta Independent, Cini arrived at the police headquarters accompanied by his lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell in the early afternoon of yesterday and left at 6.30pm.

The magisterial inquiry into Egrant Inc was ordered by the Prime Minister after Daphne Caruana Galizia alleged on her blog in April last year that the company belonged to Muscat’s wife. The journalist had also claimed Egrant had received upwards of a $1 million from a company belonging to the daughter of Azerbaijan ruler Ilham Aliyev.

No evidence was ever presented to prove the allegations, despite claims by a former Pilatus Bank employee - Maria Efimova - that she had scanned declarations of trust and uploaded them in the cloud. The inquiry found no evidence to corroborate Efimova's claims and the only documents presented to the inquiry by former Malta Independent director of content Pierre Portelli, were discovered to be false.

The inquiry, which took 17 months to complete, and which cost over €1 million, did not find any documents linking Egrant to Muscat, and concluded that signatures on trust declarations presented to the inquiry were forged.

Police have so far questioned former FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris and Pierre Portelli. Portelli today heads the Nationalist Party’s media company Media.Link.

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