Americans ban Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi from entering US for “acts of corruption”


Keith Schembri, the former right-hand man of Joseph Muscat, has been hit with an unprecedented travel sanction by the United States government.

Former Minister of Labor Konrad Mizzi was included in the latest US State Department designation.

The State Department announced the public designation of Mizzi and Schembri as having been involved in “acts of corruption which included the use of their political influence and official power for their personal gain.”

Specifically, the US government said there was “credible information that Mizzi and Schembri were involved in a bribery scheme which involved the award of a government contract for the construction of a power plant and utilities. related in exchange for bribes and bribes. Their actions have undermined the rule of law and the confidence of the Maltese public in the democratic institutions and public processes of their government.

The State Department also named Mizzi and Schembri’s immediate family members – Mizzi’s wife, Sai Mizzi Liang, and her two minor children; Schembri’s wife, Josette Schembri Vella, her daughter Juliana Schembri Vella and her minor child.

This action renders Mizzi and Schembri, and each of their immediate family members, ineligible for entry into the United States.

“This designation reaffirms the United States’ commitment to supporting the rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions in Malta. The Department will continue to use authorities like this to promote the accountability of corrupt actors in this region and globally.

The decision against Schembri and Mizzi, the latter sacked from the Labor parliamentary group in 2020 as part of the Enemalta Mozura wind farm scandal, has taken the Maltese government by surprise.

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Never before has a person so close to an administration or a political party been affected by such a travel sanction. Schembri – a businessman with major business interests – and Mizzi, both involved in the Panama Papers in 2016, were Joseph Muscat’s closest allies.

Article 7031 (c) of the Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriation Act, 2021, officials of foreign governments and members of their immediate families “about whom the Secretary of State has credible information have been involved, directly or indirectly, in material acts of corruption, including bribery” will not be eligible. upon entry into the United States.

Keith Schembri has held high public office as chief of staff to his friend and prime minister Joseph Muscat.

He had been a key person in Muscat’s strategy to transform the Labor Party into a “pro-business” party and was privy to all the jobs, projects, contracts and even sensitive national security information shared by the Department. security.

During this time, Konrad Mizzi was first minister of energy in the government, then of health and finally of tourism. He has led Labor Party’s most controversial government projects, including the Electrogas power plant, the Enemalta wind farm project in Montenegro, and the Vitals Hospitals privatization deal.

But in 2016, Daphne Caruana Galizia Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi in the Panama Papers, showing that they had opened offshore companies after the 2013 general election and created trusts in New Zealand. The companies, Tillgate Inc. and Hearnville Inc., were officially acquired by Schembri and Mizzi in the summer of 2015.

It was eventually revealed that the two Panamanian companies were to receive payments from Dubai-based company 17 Black for services that had never been specified.

Reuters then revealed in 2019 that the owner of 17 Black is the CEO of the Tumas Group, Yorgen Fenech, a shareholder of Electrogas, and that the company had an account with Noor Bank.

A year later, Fenech was arrested on his yacht and identified as a “person of interest” in the investigation into the murder of Caruana Galizia.

Earlier this year, Keith Schembri was charged with various money laundering and financial offenses. The charges stemmed from allegations that Schembri transferred € 650,000 through various offshore companies and then paid in the form of financial instruments.

Konrad Mizzi remains an independent MP after being ousted by the Labor Party caucus in June 2020 when it was revealed that Yorgen Fenech’s 17 Black had benefited from Enemalta’s purchase of a wind farm project in Montenegro in 2015. At the time, Mizzi was Minister of Energy.


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