John Dalli opened a BVI secret society in 2006
Tista ‘taqra bil-
Former EU commissioner John Dalli owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands while serving as an MP in Malta, an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has revealed.
The former PN minister used the nominee services provided by Panamanian law firm Alcogal to hide his property from BVI Westmead Overseas Limited.
Dalli never declared the company in his asset returns, but there is no information about the company’s purpose found in the leak.
This was discovered by the Pandora Papers, an ICIJ briefing covering 11.9 million confidential documents disclosed by 14 different enterprise service providers around the world.
Dalli told the ICIJ the accusations were bogus and politically motivated, and insisted that he created the company to own shares in a project that “never came to fruition and that the company was not used “.
Dalli was an MP when he opened the company after resigning as foreign minister in 2004 over allegations of corruption in the awarding of medical equipment and plane ticketing contracts.
He was then briefly reinstated as Minister after the 2008 elections before being appointed Malta’s EU Commissioner two years later.
However, Dalli’s stay in Brussels did not last long after his resignation in September 2012 in light of an investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) which showed that he had been in contact with his former assistant Silvio Zammit who allegedly requested a sum of 60 million euros. bribe from a Swedish snuff company seeking to end the retail ban on its products.
Azzopardi reveals criminal case against John Dalli
Last year, shortly after being appointed police chief, Angelo Gafa ‘declared Newsbook.com.mt that Dalli was still under investigation into the case and last month opposition MP and lawyer Jason Azzopardi claimed police had initiated criminal charges against the disgraced former EU commissioner.
After avoiding arrest for his role in the Swedish tobacco scandal in 2013, Dalli was greeted warmly by new Labor Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Although he had been Labor’s nemesis for years, Muscat appointed Dalli as a consultant for the health sector. During this period, Malta privatized three public hospitals – St Luke’s, Karin Grech and Gozo General Hospital, after Vitals Global Healthcare secured the controversial deal. VGH had no experience in the medical field.
Owning an offshore company is not in itself illegal, and instead of choosing to appear openly in public records as the owner of Westmead, Dalli chose to pay Alcogal to disguise his property through a nominee company.
According to Malta timetables, Dalli said he was “forced to work abroad” after being ostracized by former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi in 2004.
The former PN minister said at the time he opened Westmead Overseas he was advising on a project and his compensation was to be a stake in the company if the project came to fruition.
“Westmead was formed to own the equity in the project. The project never materialized and the business was not used, ”said Dalli.
Although he denied that the controversial Electrogas power plant was the project in which Westmead planned to own shares, Dalli did not elaborate further when asked which company he was targeting through his offshore company.
Dalli had told Gonzi in October 2008 of a pitch on an LNG power plant project, similar to the one finally undertaken by Electrogas.
Dalli said he had “resigned” from Westmead after learning he would be reappointed to cabinet in March 2008.
When asked why he never declared the company as an MP and Minister in Malta and later when he was EU Commissioner, Dalli said Westmead was inactive.
In addition, Dalli said that as commissioner he was only required to declare financial interests or assets that could create a conflict of interest.
Dalli’s two daughters, Claire Gauci Borda and Louisa Dalli, then took over the management of the company. but Dalli said they left Westmead in September 2009.
However, a certificate of service drawn up by Alcogal in March 2010 still listed his daughters as directors of Westmead. In 2017, his daughters were indicted for their alleged role in a Ponzi scheme.
Court frustrated by judgment of Dalli girls’ fraud case
Westmead Overseas was removed from the BVI register in 2013 because its renewal fees were not paid.
Dalli used local service providers Finco Trust Services to set up Westmead, but a spokesperson said Finco’s role is simply to introduce clients to Alcogal.
“Finco has never been involved in any way in its management, administration or the provision of professional services to this company. The company was managed directly by the beneficial owners and the directors.
Pandora Papers records show that due diligence documents sent by Finco to Alcogal in 2006 pointed to the “serious allegations of corruption” that Dalli faced in 2004 for forwarding € 90,000 in reservations by the Foreign Ministry to a company linked to his daughters.
However, at a time when due diligence and anti-money laundering procedures were less stringent, Dalli was not turned down by either Finco or Alcogal.
What are Pandora papers?
The Pandora Papers investigation is the world’s largest journalistic collaboration, involving more than 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries.
Among other things, the secret documents expose the offshore transactions of the King of Jordan, the Presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The files also detail the financial activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unofficial propaganda minister” and more than 130 billionaires from Russia, the United States, Turkey and other countries.
The investigation is based on a leak of confidential records of 14 offshore service providers who provide professional services to high net worth individuals and companies seeking to form shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in low tax or non-tax jurisdictions. Entities allow owners to conceal their identities from the public and sometimes from regulators. Often, providers help them open bank accounts in countries with light financial regulations.
The 2.94 terabytes of data, leaked to ICIJ and shared with media partners around the world, arrived in various formats: as documents, images, emails, spreadsheets, and more. .
The files contain an unprecedented amount of information on the alleged beneficial owners of entities registered in the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong, Belize, Panama, South Dakota and other secret jurisdictions.
They also contain information on shareholders, directors and officers. In addition to the rich, famous and infamous, those exposed by the leak include people who do not represent a public interest, such as small business owners, doctors and other, generally well-off, out of the spotlight. public.