Daphne Project: the secret offshore cash of alleged mastermind of Daphne killing

Two years after the Daphne Project, new revelations regarding the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder have sparked the biggest political crisis in Malta: The Prime Minister has annouced his resignation for January, while three other members of the government had to step down for their possible link to the murder. As the official investigation continues, members of the Daphne Project Stephen Grey and Jacob Borg obtained a leak regarding money left in Dubai accounts of mysterious 17 Black company, linked to business tycoon Yorgen Fenech.

 

The first cheque issued by Noor Bank in Dubai in April 2019 to Yorgen Fenech, accused of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in October 2017. Two finance officials in the United Arab Emirates told Reuters the cheques were authentic. Awaiting comment from Fenech.

This cheque from a Dubai bank is the first published documentary proof that connects an offshore company named 17 Black probed by murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and a Maltese businessman, Yorgen Fenech, now accused of masterminding her murder in October 2017.

Although no motive has been given publicly for the killing, detectives in Malta are increasingly convinced that Fenech may have killed Daphne to protect the secret of 17 Black. Fenech, who was a director of a major power project in Malta promoted by the government, was accused in court on November 30 of complicity in the journalist’s murder: he denied the charges.

The cheques to Fenech worth 1.5 million euros was leaked to members of the Daphne Project, the project run by Forbidden Stories to continue the work of the murdered journalist. Financial officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have confirmed the money is the proceeds of accounts for 17 Black, a company that Caruana Galizia had claimed on her blog was what “those crooks use to move money in and out of Dubai”.

Together with another one for a smaller amount worth 89,000 euros (0.365 million dirhams), the cheque for 5.729 UAE dirhams (1.5m euros) was secretly issued to Fenech by Noor Bank in Dubai in April 2019 after the bank closed down an account for 17 Black. Although she never provided evidence, Daphne thought the company was set up to pay corrupt politicians.

Second cheque issued by Noor Bank in Dubai in April 2019 to Yorgen Fenech.

The two cheques were worth more than 1.5 million euros but Fenech was never able to cash them. The money is now still in Noor Bank and can be frozen, UAE officials told Reuters. Full details of the accounts will now be sent to Maltese investigators.

Last November, Reuters and the Times of Malta revealed that the 17 Black was secretly owned by Fenech and had been renamed to Wings Development Ltd, a month after Daphne first publicly mentioned the company on her blog in February 2017. According to court evidence, her murder was ordered a few weeks before an election was held in May 2017.

Read more on 17 Black’s potential connection the murder here: Was 17 Black the motive behind Caruana Galizia assassination?

Until Sunday night, Fenech made no comment to Reuters or the Times of Malta on the cheques. He has pled not guilty to involvement in the murder but asked for a pardon from the Government to reveal the full truth about the crime and other evidence of corruption.

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