A company owned by Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech received a €2.3 million payment from a firm run out of Switzerland with links to Azerbaijan.
The payment was made to Fenech‘s 17 Black on November 24, 2015 by Crowbar Holdings S.A, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands but which was administered from Switzerland.
Investigations by the Daphne Project, an international journalistic collaboration which includes Times of Malta, show that Swiss/Azeri citizen Mariam Almaszade, who is Socar Trading’s CEO, used to be a director of Crowbar Holdings SA, though she resigned in June 2015, prior to the 17 Black transaction.
Socar Trading is one of the partners in the Electrogas power station, of which Fenech used to be a director.
Almaszade declined to comment when contacted by Daphne Project’s Swiss partners Tamedia.
Crowbar was owned by Azeri entrepreneur Rovshan Tamrazov, who also owns a Swiss oil trading company called Maddox.
Almaszade spent two years as Maddox’s CEO before moving on to Socar Trading in 2018.
Tamrazov did not comment on the reason behind the 17 Black transaction when contacted by Tamedia.
Formal request made in August
Swiss authorities confirmed that Maltese police requested information about Socar Trading in 2018 as part of an “investigation into suspected money laundering and corruption“.
The request was sent soon after police were handed an intelligence report by the FIAU identifiying Fenech as 17 Black’s owner.
A formal request for information about Socar Trading was filed by Malta‘s Attorney General last August, the Swiss authorities confirmed.
Contacted by Times of Malta, the police declined to comment when questioned about the nature of their investigations into transactions involving 17 Black.
The Attorney General did not respond to a request for comment.
Socar Trading told Tamedia that neither the Swiss federal prosecutor’s office nor the Maltese authorities had contacted Socar Trading about any investigation.
This is not the first payment linked to Azerbaijan sent to 17 Black.
Times of Malta reported in 2018 how Mayor Trans, a company controlled by an Azeri security guard, wired €1.4 million in two tranches to 17 Black in November 2015.
Mario Pullicino, an agent for the floating storage unit feeding LNG to the Electrogas power station, also sent €161,000 to 17 Black in 2015.