No. 7/BREAKING: Brian Tonna, who has a desk in the Prime Minister’s Office, is selling Maltese citizenship through a secret company in the British Virgin Islands

Published: April 23, 2016 at 7:34pm

Today I can reveal that Brian Tonna, owner and lead partner of Nexia BT, the firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal in Malta, has a secret company in the British Virgin Islands, Willerby Trade Inc, through which he sells Maltese citizenship under this government’s programme managed through Henley & Partners.

Brian Tonna has had a desk in Joseph Muscat’s office since Muscat became prime minister. Tonna has been accountant and financial adviser to Keith Schembri, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, for the last two decades.

Documents published below and embedded throughout this post show that Tonna is the ultimate beneficial owner of Willerby Trade Inc, and also that his ownership has been masked by having the shares held by Mossack Fonseca’s nominee company in Panama, with nominee directors put up by Mossack Fonseca.

On 18 June 2013, Brian Tonna and Karl Cini signed an indemnity in favour of Mossack Fonseca for Willerby Trade Inc. Two days later, on 20 June, ACT Administrators Inc (Mossack Fonseca’s nominee operation) signed a notice acknowledging that the beneficial interest and ownership of the 100 fully paid up shares, represented by share certificate number 1, in Willerby Trade Inc, are exclusively vested in favour of Brian Tonna. Read that notice here: Willerby shares held for Tonna

I quote from an email dated 20 June 2013:

From: Cristina Ríos – Executive Assistant
To: Mossfon Trust Compliance Department
Date: 20 Jun 2013, 5:05 AM
Subject: FW: MFT/36843 BTI MANAGEMENT LIMITED/2132145/LM/sr
Attachment(s): 8

Favor nota que el Sr. Brian Tonna también será el Beneficiario final de las compañías d BVI: WILLERBY TRADE INC.

Tonna later acquired a power of attorney from those nominee directors to be able to deal on behalf of Willerby Trade Inc, which is his company, without showing that it actually is his, having it appear instead as though he holds the power of attorney on behalf of a client who owns the company. Read the power of attorney document here: Willerby Trade power of attorney Oct 2014

Willerby Trade Inc then entered into a mise-en-scene agreement with BT International Ltd, the Maltese company which is fully owned by Brian Tonna personally, to “refer” prospective clients for the purchase of Maltese citizenship. BT International Ltd is a registered agent with Henley & Partners under the so-called Individual Investor Programme. It has not, so far, been flagged up that Brian Tonna is selling Maltese citizenship/passports because the registered contact person is Karl Cini, who is also the signatory for BT International (owned by Brian Tonna) in its agreement with Willerby Trade Inc (owned by Brian Tonna).

Read the mise-en-scene agreement between Willerby Trade Inc (BVI) and BT International Ltd (Malta), both companies owned by Brian Tonna, here: Sub agents agreement – IIP – Willerby

Brian Tonna then invoices through Willerby Trade Inc in the British Virgin Islands for his share of the fees/commission on clients who buy Maltese citizenship, which has the two-fold purpose of concealing his income from the tax authorities in Malta while also concealing from the press and the public – should Identity Malta ever be forced to reveal the number of successful citizenship buyers per agent – just how many people have bought Maltese citizenship through the man with a desk in Joseph Muscat’s office.

We can now see, in a fresh light, the keen interest the Prime Minister has been taking in flying to the shadier parts of the world to tout Maltese citizenship at citizenship fairs organised by Henley & Partners, the latest being Beirut last week.

Tonna was last seen coming out the Prime Minister’s Office in the evening a few days ago.

Left to right: Brian Tonna, Joseph Muscat and Karl Cini at the opening of Nexia BT's new offices three years ago.

Left to right: Brian Tonna, Joseph Muscat and Karl Cini at the opening of Nexia BT’s new offices three years ago.