One of the elements of the complex Electrogas scandal was that the promise that the “investors” made that they would bring money into the country to invest in a new power station did not materialise. Their money partner, Gasol, went bust and yet the government didn’t fire them. Instead, the government leaned on Bank of Valletta to lend Electrogas the money guaranteeing the loan in case Electrogas go bust.
Something similar happened with Vitals/Steward and yesterday’s court judgement will have made uncomfortable reading for the bosses at BoV.
The court yesterday recalled how when Joseph Muscat testified in the case brought by Adrian Delia, he had claimed that he would have been irresponsible as prime minister to turn away big-time American investors. And yet, despite all the promises of big money, Steward got the government to lean on BoV and lend them around €36 million that so far remain unpaid. The government guaranteed those loans, so Bank of Valletta must have felt safe. If it did, it was misguided.
We all know the story of how when Adrian Delia’s lawsuit started Konrad Mizzi signed a supplement to the contract with Steward promising them that should the concession be cancelled by court order it would be presumed that the government was in default of their agreement with Steward, and they would pay their debts for them. There’s also the fine detail that the government would pay them an extra €100 million on top of settling their debts.
Testifying in court Joseph Muscat and Edward Scicluna, prime minister, and finance minister at the time this commitment was made, testified under oath they did not know about the promise of the extra €100 million. We can discuss perjury when Konrad Mizzi stops pleading the fifth and contradicts them.
Until then all we have, and all Steward have is Konrad Mizzi’s signature on that contract.
Well, not really. They don’t anymore. Because yesterday Judge Francesco Depasquale struck down the concession and with it all annexes and appendices added to it. Which means that the court has not only nullified the government’s obligation to pay Steward €100 million for losing their contract (small mercies?) but has also nullified the government’s commitment to pay BoV the €36 million they lent Steward and which they’re never getting back from them.
Bank of Valletta will be getting on the phone to the Finance Ministry pronto because they’ll want the money anyway. A fine mess gets finer. €36 million is a lot of money for a bank to write off. And remember that though the government seems perfectly happy to control BoV and to force it to cough up money that its corrupt business associates promise but are unable to come up with, the government does not own the BoV. BoV is owned by thousands of small stakeholders who have just been royally fucked over by Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat and Edward Scicluna.
That bit they did know.