Raid on ABLV shows need for a Europol Joint Investigation Team

A bank used in the money-laundering and kickback scheme of Konrad Mizzi, Malta’s former energy minister, Keith Schembri, the former prime minister’s chief of staff, and Yorgen Fenech, who stands charged with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination, was raided by 300 police officers in Riga, Latvia on 13 June.

The ABLV Bank raid follows a 31-page money-laundering report the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation filed with Latvia’s financial intelligence unit on 30 May 2019.

At the time of her assassination, Daphne Caruana Galizia was investigating 17 Black Ltd, a shell company in the Ajman Free Zone owned by Fenech, and Electrogas, the energy consortium in which Azerbaijan’s state-owned energy company SOCAR, Siemens, and a group of Maltese nationals including Fenech are shareholders.

Payments to Fenech’s secretly held 17 Black Ltd account at Noor Bank in Dubai were made from an account at ABLV Bank registered in the name of an Azerbaijani frontman, Rufat Baratzada. The payments into Fenech’s 17 Black Ltd account coincide with the signing of key deals between Malta’s government, SOCAR, and Electrogas.

We urge Europol and authorities in Latvia to preserve all evidence from ABLV Bank and to initiate a Europol Joint Investigation Team that will pull together evidence from Malta, Latvia, the “Panama Papers”, and other sources, and bring all those involved in corruption, murder and sabotage of investigations to justice.