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.