Money-laundering facts + documents: Konrad Mizzi, Brian Tonna and Shanghai Electric Power’s negotiator

Published: May 8, 2017 at 7:43pm

When the government decided it wanted to sell a big chunk of Enemalta and a whole power station to China – Shanghai Electric Power is owed by the Chinese state – a consulting firm called Accenture Strategy was contracted to work on the deal.

At the time, Konrad Mizzi said: “Accenture has been actively supporting Malta’s energy-transformation ambition.” But at the heart of the deal was an unknown Cambridge University graduate and Accenture Strategy employee called Cheng Chen, on an annual salary of roughly €100,000.

And what do you know? They corrupted him too. Cheng Chen’s support for Malta’s energy-transformation ambition was so active that Konrad Mizzi’s shady accountant, Brian Tonna at Nexia BT, acquired a shelf company for him in the British Virgin Islands – Torbridge Services Inc – at the same time that he acquired one for himself personally, Willerby Trade Inc.

Both Willerby Trade Inc and Torbridge Services Inc have accounts at Pilatus Bank, and documents held by that bank show that Cheng Chen’s Torbridge Inc has an “energy consultancy” agreement with Brian Tonna’s Nexia BT and Willerby Trade Inc.

On 17 June 2013, when the Labour Party had been in power for just three months, Adrían Dixon, a citizen of Panama who was working at Nexia BT’s office in Malta at the time, emailed Mossack Fonseca in Panama and said (in translation from the Spanish):

Hello, good day!

Following our phone conversation, the client has decided to buy Torbridge Services Inc and Willerby Trade Inc, BVI companies. For these companies we will need nominee directors and shareholders as well as a power of attorney for each one.

Furthermore, the client would like to open a bank account in Panama for one of these companies. Just a bank account to test how it works, and in the future we’ll ask to open more. They want it basically to check the account online and in English.

Anything else just let me know. Thanks for your help Cristina!

Later in the year, Cheng Chen began to negotiate, on behalf of Shanghai Electric Power, with Konrad Mizzi, on behalf of the government of Malta. The two met together several times, and for most of those meetings, they were alone together.

Cheng Chen, far right, shaking Konrad Mizzi’s hand immediately after the Shanghai Electric Power/Malta government deal was signed in March 2014.

12 Comments Comment

  1. Mark Borg says:

    Thanks, Daphne. My heart rate increases when I see all these facts. Disgusted.

  2. Spiderman says:

    Shangai Electric Power is owned by the Chinese government? Bet they will gladly throw Chen Cheng under the bus to avoid embarrasment. Remember that the Panama Papers are international.

  3. RF says:

    Is their friend Chen Cheng still around? High-ranking officials and ordinary cadres referred to as “tigers and flies” suspected of graft offences are known to be mercilessly tortured under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

  4. Joseph Simon says:

    They ask for proof, and when this is produced they ignore it. The first thing that they did was set up a structure for kickbacks on the Shanghai Electric deal.

    Isn’t it clear that the deal is tainted with corruption?

    What are the police waiting for? The go ahead from above?

  5. O Cassar says:

    After all this intrigue I wonder whether Sai Mizzi’s role in China was really what they say it was or otherwise.

    • Rumplestiltskin says:

      Did you have any doubt?

    • Geoff Formosa says:

      whatever happened to her? Why is no one asking? Is she still on the payroll? There are so many things happening that we tend to forget the previous episodes of blatant corruption.

      • Victor Bonello says:

        Why do you wonder so far, when we have here, in Malta – Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’s second ex wife who landed a 2,000-euro a week job with the health services, double the salary of her minister. And the workers who go fly their flags got 1.58c a week. How blind can people be?

  6. Stephen Forster says:

    I wonder where he is now too.

  7. Henry S Pace says:

    Muscat wants proof.

  8. You’ll have to find enough people there who can read, let alone read English.

  9. Victor Bonello says:

    Me too, and very jealous. I have always had to work hard for what I have, and here we have hundreds of people of trust getting yearly what the average workman earns in 10 years.

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