Shooting range plans collapse on due diligence failure

Published: July 5, 2015 at 4:27pm

Anastasia Budykho of U-Group - Economy Minister Chris Cardona might wish to have a go

Anastasia Budykho of U-Group – Economy Minister Chris Cardona might wish to have a go

The Sunday Times reports in its print edition today that the Russian company U-Group, which was certain that it had government backing for the development of a shooting range in an agricultural area behind the Jesuit retreat home in Mosta, has failed the due diligence scrutiny.

Because of that, the government will not go ahead with the project.

That’s good news, but quite frankly, I think that the government just pulled back on the basis of public anger and that the due diligence had nothing to do with it but is just a convenient excuse to save the government’s face and not make it look like it’s climbing down on a poorly judged or corrupt decision to do business with these sleazy Russians.

It didn’t have any due diligence issues with Gasol, the technically insolvent key partner in the Electrogas consortium, or with the consortium itself, which is why it ended up with a two-year delay and counting and having to strong-arm the government-controlled Bank of Valletta into giving them a loan of 101 million euros for which it has stood as guarantor to a limit of 88 million euros.

After The Sunday Times story broke today, U-Group issued a statement saying that it has received no communication from the government to this effect, and the story was news to it.

It said it would be surprised if the government had told the media without telling U-Group first. How naïve – especially for sleazy Russians.