17 Black, Daphne Caruana Galizia and Yorgen Fenech: a timeline of events

What is 17 Black? How did we learn about it? How is it linked to Yorgen Fenech? Did Daphne Caruana Galizia ever mention Fenech in her blog? MaltaToday revisits the timeline of events

Yorgen Fenech and Daphne Caruana Galizia
Yorgen Fenech and Daphne Caruana Galizia

The 17 Black timeline

22 February 2017

In a very cryptic post on her blog, Daphne Caruana Galizia pastes the words ‘17 Black Dubai’ below the photos of Keith Schembri, John Dalli, Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi. This is the first time that the name 17 Black emerged in public.

The cryptic blog Daphne Caruana Galizia put up in February 2017, which was the first time that 17 Black was mentioned
The cryptic blog Daphne Caruana Galizia put up in February 2017, which was the first time that 17 Black was mentioned

27 February 2017

Caruana Galizia elaborates on 17 Black and describes it as “the company which those crooks use to move money in and out of Dubai”.

She also says that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the Police Commissioner know all about 17 Black.

26 May 2017

The Malta Independent publishes a story claiming that an investigation by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit shows how a Dubai-based company identified as 17 Black had received money from the agent of the LNG tanker at Delimara. The report alleged that 17 Black had to transfer the cash to the accounts of two Panama companies set up by Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi. The FIAU report is not a finalised version and the agency continues working on the case.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was mudered in a car bomb outside her house in Bidnija
Daphne Caruana Galizia was mudered in a car bomb outside her house in Bidnija

16 October 2017

Daphne Caruana Galizia is assassinated with a powerful car bomb. Less than two months later, three men are charged with her murder but the mastermind is still at large.

18 April 2018

The Daphne Project reveals that 17 Black and a second company, Macbridge, were listed as a “target clients” of the Panama companies opened for Mizzi and Schembri. The Prime Minister’s chief of staff releases a press statement admitting his company, Tillgate, had drafted business plans with 17 Black and Macbridge but nothing ever came out of them. He also denies any knowledge of money transfers.

This is the first time Schembri admits his linkage with 17 Black. Mizzi sticks to his guns, insisting he has no knowledge of 17 Black.

The Daphne Project also reveals that the Maltese FIAU traced two payments to 17 Black totalling $1.6 million, one of which was from a Seychelles company called Mayor Trans, owned by an innocuous Azerbaijani national.

Yorgen Fenech was publicly identified as the owner of 17 Black in November 2018
Yorgen Fenech was publicly identified as the owner of 17 Black in November 2018

9 November 2018

Reuters reveals that the owner of 17 Black is Tumas Group CEO Yorgen Fenech and the company has an account at Noor Bank. Reuters says that an FIAU report identifying Fenech as 17 Black’s owner was sent to the police in the spring of 2018 for a money-laundering investigation.

20 November 2019

Yorgen Fenech is arrested on his yacht as it leaves from the Portomaso Marina. He is taken in for questioning and is identified as a “person of interest” in the Caruana Galizia murder investigation.

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Yorgen Fenech received only one mention on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog, Running Commentary, only returns one singular mention of Yorgen Fenech by name.

And even in this instance, the name is not even brought up by Caruana Galizia but is included in a quote she lifted from a Times of Malta report from October 2013.

The reference was a story quoting Fenech on behalf of Electrogas, which had just been awarded the multi-million-euro gas power station contract.

Caruana Galizia used Fenech’s statement that a storage tanker for LNG was already contracted, as proof that the power station was a done deal from before the 2013 general election.

The Electrogas power station and LNG terminal in Delimara was described as a
The Electrogas power station and LNG terminal in Delimara was described as a "corrupt deal" by Caruana Galizia but Yorgen Fenech's name only cropped up once in her Running Commentary

In her writings, Caruana Galizia spared no punches on the Electrogas deal, describing it as corrupt and deriding the Gasan and Tumas Groups, which are part-shareholders in the project. However, while coming out guns blazing against the two companies, Yorgen Fenech’s name was conspicuous by its absence throughout the whole saga, despite having been the frontman for the Electrogas consortium.

In the summer before her assassination, Caruana Galizia had received a leaked cache of emails from the Electrogas servers, which she never got around to write about. The email cache was eventually analysed by the Daphne Project. As far as we know, no information on 17 Black was lifted from the leak.

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Yorgen Fenech spends the night in police custody

Activists call on MPs to remove Joseph Muscat

I have never had any association with Fenech’s 17 Black, says Konrad Mizzi

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