The chairman of Malta Enterprise, Lawrence Zammit, is expected to file for libel against GWU organ l-orizzont, over a report linking him to a company whose assets were frozen due to its connections to the Sicilian mafia.
A 2011 investigation by Sicilian investigators in Palermo yielded direct links between the most wanted Mafia boss, to a wind farm project in a series of companies which funneled money through an elaborate scheme of financial transactions that eventually ends up in a Eryngium Ltd, a Maltese company registered in Archbishop Street, Valletta.
The company was registered in Malta by fiduciary company Notabile Consulting Group, whose directors are Zammit, of pollsters Misco, and Simon Vella, the chairman of the Transport Malta’s land transport supervisory board.
Contacted by MaltaToday, Zammit yesterday told MaltaToday that the fiduciary had carried out its due diligence of the company Eryngium, and that no suspect links had emerged with any criminal organisation.
Government sources said the liquidation of Eryngium had already started months ago when some €1.3 million in assets of the company were frozen by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit. No assets belonging to Notabile were frozen by the FIAU, the sources added.
“Fiduciaries were created so that Malta could attract companies looking for better tax regimes, and now it’s a structure that underpins our financial services regime. Some negative outcomes are inevitable when it comes to suspect transactions,” the same source told MaltaToday.
Vella told union newspaper l-orizzont that Notabile Fiduciaries was unconnected to the activities of Eryngium and unaware of any illegal activity throughout its name-lender services to the company.
Investigators from Sicily’s anti-mafia pool of magistrates identified Eryngium as the Maltese company which was allegedly the recipient of illegal financial transactions, and which had been created by a “mastermind” in financial and economic affairs, identified as Messina University head of the faculty of economics, Professor. Melo Martella, who has been served with a warrant for his arrest.
Others said to be connected to Eryngium and its mother-company Eryngium Holdings Limited – also registered in Malta – is Nino Scimemi from the town of Salemi, and Vito Nicastri from Alcamo, who earned himself the nickname as ‘king of the wind’ for his involvement in a number of wind farms around the Italian peninsula, and who is at the centre of a number of investigations by police for his role in illicit business.