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Russiagate Part Two: Malta

Russiagate Part One:  The Story That Everyone Missed → here

When Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered last year, it was a devastating loss not just for her family and children but also for Malta, journalists around the world, and anyone that appreciates those who risk their lives to bring truth and transparency to the world.  Residing in Malta, a small island located in the Mediterranean Sea where the Knights of Malta once fought off the Ottoman Empire, Caruana Galizia spent her time reporting on government corruption and political misconduct despite years of threats and litigation.  On October 16, 2017, she was killed by a car bomb and while three men have been arrested in connection with the attack, the person(s) who ordered it remains unknown.  After her murder, forty-five journalists from eighteen news organizations joined forces and are now “working in secret to complete and publish” Caruana Galizia’s investigations.  Forbiddenstories.org organized the collaboration and as its founder Laurent Richard put it, “You killed the messenger. But you won’t kill the message.”

Some of Caruana Galizia’s stories that may have gotten her killed include Malta’s sale of passports which are used as a “backdoor by millionaires,” as well as a well-substantiated suspicion that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff and the former energy minister were receiving kickbacks for the passport program and other projects.

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HENLEY & PARTNERS AND SCL

Christian Kalin

In 2006, Dr. Christian Kalin, the chairman of Henley & Partners, developed a “citizenship-by-investment” program that allows for extremely wealthy individuals to plunk down large sums of money in return for citizenship.  Two years after the program was developed, Dr. Kalin and Alexander Nix, the man behind SCL and Cambridge Analytica, went into business together.  While SCL was working on a campaign in St. Kitts and Nevis, according to spectator.co.uk, Dr. Kalin’s program was bringing “millions into the region.”  And when SCL worked on an election in St. Vincent and Grenadines, Henley & Partners was there discussing “potential investment opportunities” with the New Democratic Party leader, Arnhim Eustace. And when the St. Vincent campaign ended and SCL “operative” Dan Mureson was found dead in a Kenyan hotel room, no one blinked an eye and Christopher Wylie filled SCL Election’s vacancy.

It’s also been reported that SCL was working in Malta with the Labour Party as early as 2011.  At some point before the 2013 election, the firm introduced Dr. Kalin to Joseph Muscat, a political candidate for the office of Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition—a government office in Malta that’s viewed as a shadow prime minister.  The Opposition’s main role is to hold the government accountable to the public.  Joseph Muscat held that role between 2008 – 2013 during which time he allegedly had contact with both SCL and Henley & Partners.

Correspondence between SCL and Henley & Partners also suggests that Dr. Kalin visited the Nationalist Party during the summer of 2011, but the party turned down his “investment-for-citizenship” program.  SCL’s Alexander Nix also reached out to the party in November, 2012, offering his assistance in the upcoming elections but the entire thing came off as a ruse to gather intelligence for the Labour Party.

Although both political parties denied any contact with “big data firm Cambridge Analytica for aid ahead of the 2013 election,” lovinmalta.com noted that the Nationalist Party’s deputy leader David Agius admitted to introducing Dr. Kalin to the Party in 2011.

Labour Party candidate Joseph Muscat went on to win the 2013 election becoming Malta’s prime minister.  That same year, Dr. Kalin’s firm, Henley & Partners, was appointed to head the government’s passport program.

 

MALTA PASSPORTS

Daphne Caruana Galizia

Malta has also operated a long-standing residence program, which was recently revised and re-launched as the Global Residence Program, and has introduced a Citizenship-by-Investment option, known as the Individual Investor Program (IIP), which is lead by Identity Malta on behalf of the Government under a Public Services Concession…The Malta IIP is aimed at ultra-high net worth individuals and families worldwide.” — Henley Global

Daphne Caruana Galizia repeatedly spoke out about Henley’s passport program which permits the wealthy to obtain an EU passport thus allowing them to live and work anywhere in Europe.  Between 2014-2017, hundreds of these passports were issued to non-EU citizens in exchange for large sums of money; forty percent of individuals receiving citizenship in 2015 were Russian.  Henley’s program even allowed for individuals with a criminal record to obtain a passport putting EU borders at risk.

 

PASSPORT KICKBACKS

Keith Schrembi and Joseph Muscat

After the 2013 elections, an Iranian businessman named Ali Sadra filed an application with Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) to open a bank called Pilatus Bank.  MFSA’s job is to make sure shady individuals like Ali Sadra don’t get issued a license.  Ali Sadra was issued a license.  And when it came time for the opening ceremony in January, 2014, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was there to cut the ribbon.

Over the course of the next few years, questionable activities went on such as family members of the Azerbaijani president opening accounts at Pilatus and Muscat’s chief-of-staff attending Ali Sadra’s wedding ceremony.   According to timesofmalta.com, no one knew what was happening at the bank until Caruana Galizia “uncovered the Maltese link to the Panama scandal.”

In 2016, she reported that Konrad Mizzi, Malta’s Health and Energy Minister (he has since stepped down), and Keith Schembri, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s chief-of-staff, each held New Zealand trusts that sheltered two Panama companies, Hearnville and Tillgate, respectively.  The Panama companies were set up by Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna, who apparently had or still has his own desk in Joseph Muscat’s office.  It should come as no surprise then that Tonna is also the beneficial owner behind another Panama company called Egrant held by Muscat’s wife.  All three individuals, Mizzi, Schembri, and Muscat’s wife, had accounts at Pilatus Bank.

Although Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis (FIAU) essentially ignored allegations of misconduct and possible criminal activity at Pilatus and even gave the bank “a clean bill of health,” leaked FIAU reports revealed that Schembri and Mizzi not only had accounts at the bank, Schembri’s account had received two payments of 50,000 euros from Brian Tonna.  The money is believed to be kickbacks for selling passports to three Russian nationals.  Other scandals with the accounts ensued.  At least three Russian oligarchs who obtained Malta citizenship are on Trump’s sanctions list:  Arkady Volozh, Boris Mints, and Alexander Natanovich Nesis.

Shockingly, leaked emails from November, 2016, show that Joseph Muscat took part in a scheme to shut down Caruana Galizia’s reporting with a “financially ruinous and extremely cumbersome lawsuit.”  Henley & Partners’ Dr. Kalin emailed the plan to Malta’s Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and Henley’s CEO of the Malta Individual Investor Programme, Jonathan Cardona.  He then forwarded the email to both Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, who responded, “I don’t object,” and “Thanks, Chris. This looks good,” respectively.  Four and a half months after Caruana Galizia reported on these emails, she was killed in a car bomb attack.

Nine days after her murder, Muscat attended a conference in Dubai that was organized by Henley & Partners.

 

CHRISTOPHER CHANDLER

Christopher Chandler

The Chandlers’ record has earned them a reputation as brilliant and daring investors whose extraordinary discretion falls just shy of reclusiveness.  Intensely private, the native New Zealanders cherish their ability to maintain near-anonymity, assiduously shunning the limelight that success brings — their names don’t even appear on the Web site of Sovereign’s main operating arm, Sovereign Global Investment.” — Institutional Investor, 2006

If you’ve never heard of the Chandler brothers, don’t worry.  Most haven’t.  The two grew up in New Zealand and later made their “first killing” by buying real estate in Hong Kong.  In 1996, they founded Sovereign Global/Sovereign Asset Management, a “family of funds, based in the offshore haven of Monaco.”

According to Institutional Investor, by the end of 1994, the Chandlers were cleaning house in Russia and had picked up a four percent stake in Unified Energy Systems, eleven percent of Mosenergo, five percent in “each of the three main production arms of Yukos Oil Co.,” fifteen percent of Novolipetsk Metallurgical Kombinat, and a “small, undisclosed stake” in Gazprom. Institutional Investor wrote, “With more than $194 million invested at the time, the brothers say they were the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia.”

Does any of this sound familiar cough cough Bill Browder?  Watch thisthis, or this.  Or just google “Hermitage Capital” and “largest foreign investor in Russia.”  Pando.com also reported,

“…the Chandlers make buckets of fast money by buying into totally depressed and corrupt emerging markets when everyone else is too afraid to, driving up the price of their assets by making a lot of noise about corporate governance and corruption…”

And according to Richard Chandler,

“We finally left after nearly ten years in Russia because we felt we had done as much as we could in corporate governance and in shareholder rights.”

Again, sound familiar?  Watch here or here, or google “Bill Browder” and “shareholder activism.”  One has to wonder if the Chandlers had been coaching Bill Browder along during his days in Russia or if Browder merely stole their tricks of the trade.  The trio were well acquainted during the 1990s because they all owned shares in Gazprom and when investors suspected that the company was involved in corrupt activity they called for an audit to “examine the evidence of asset stripping and to assess the murkey relationship between Gazprom and Iteran, a Florida-registered gas trading company.”

Institutional Investor reported that the Chandlers suspected that Gazprom had a “transfer pricing” problem and that the company was “selling vast quantities of gas at below-market prices to a little-known company called Itera…”  The article went on to explain how Gazprom investors like the Chandlers (and Browder) managed to get a seat on Gazprom’s board to combat the abuse.  An interesting twist to the story is that George Soros and Kenneth Dart, Browder’s former partner at Avisma, apparently sided with the “old guard” at Gazprom, going against Chandler and Browder.

I mean, that’s if Browder is telling the truth about his role in the Itera debacle…

As a side note, Itera plays into a whole host of other things like the Ukraine, the Orange Revolution, Dmytro Firtash, and Semion Mogilevich but that’s a whole ‘nother story (see WikiLeaks).  Also, please note that although most people believe it wasn’t until after Sergei Magnitsky’s death that Browder started begging the U.S. to punish Russia, he actually said this in 2002 in response to the Itera situation:

Million to one says he met with the Southern District of New York.  I mean Prevezon…PDVSA…Derwick Associates…How many times has this scheme been used? And what in the world does Christopher Chandler have to do with Malta?

One word:  Legatum.

 

LEGATUM

Peter Pomerantsev

Christopher Chandler founded the private investment firm Legatum in 2006.  The company is based in Dubai and there are a multitude of reasons why it should be on your radar.  First, in 2008, Legatum and the Omidyar Network partnered together in India by co-investing $40 million into Unitus Equity Fund II.

Second, Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Fellow to the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute, is extremely tight with Bill Browder.  How tight, you ask?  According to Pando.com, he served “as one of Browder’s lobbyists before the British parliament” to push the Magnitsky Act through and sure enough, even Pomerantsev wrote in his book,

“A little later I’m invited back to Parliament for a presentation, “Why Europe Needs a Magnitsky Act.”

Third, Legatum’s COO, Nathan Gamester, is the current executive director of Atlantic Partnership.  The treasurer of the organization?  Lord Marland of Odstock, the former director of Alexander Nix’s company, SCL, and once it’s largest shareholder.  As if that’s not bad enough, here’s what Daphne Caruana Galizia had to say about Marland,

“Miss Muscat is now paid what has been described to me as ‘an exorbitant salary’ by the Commonwealth Investment and Enterprise Council, using Commonwealth funds, while her mother guarantees access for its chairman, Jonathan Marland, to the Prime Minister of Malta and other members of the Maltese government’s inner circle.

Marland, who was treasurer to the Conservative Party, is a frequent visitor to Malta and has reciprocated by hosting Muscat in London several times for the purpose of introducing him to “business operators”, though it is not clear whether this is strictly on government business.”

Oh?  Meetings in London to meet “business operators” or “intelligence operators?” It gets more suspicious.  Hugo George William Swire who is also part of “Commonwealth Investment and Enterprise Council,” which is apparently working closely with Malta’s government, served as the Minister of State for the U.K.’s Foreign Office from September 4, 2012 – July 15, 2016.  I don’t have the time to dig up more on this guy but I did find this Twitter gem from 2014,

We now know what a load of steaming shiz this tweet is because of Stefania Maurizi’s hard work filing FOIA’s in Julian Assange’s case.  U.K. prosecutors destroyed key emails in the case and then pressured Sweden into prolonging their investigation by encouraging them not to come to the U.K. to interview Assange. Hugo Swine is more like it.

And yes, of course there’s more.  In 2017, Phyllis Muscat, a close friend of Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, as well as the director of this shady outfit called the Commonwealth Investment and Enterprise Council, sued Caruana Galizia because of a story she ran about Commonwealth Investment “asking hotels for kickbacks on bookings by meeting delegates.”

So what we’ve learned in the past few days is that Bill Browder and Thor Halvorssen have ties to former M16 spies including Pablo Miller who allegedly recruited Sergei Skripal and now works for Christopher Steele, the guy who wrote the Trump dossier.  Browder also has close ties to Legatum whose staff has ties to Malta not only through the Atlantic Council but as we’ll see, through Henley & Partners’ passport program.

Not only that, Rebekah Mercer who helped create Cambridge Analytica was listed on Thor Halvorssen’s website but was removed only days after I archived it.  I mean, how much, if anything, did the Mercers and Steve Bannon (or even Halvorssen) know about Malta and Henley & Partners?

Rebekah Mercer recently joined the new, improved, and renamed Cambridge Analytica, “Emerdata Ltd,” another Alexander Nix company that lists Johnson Chun Shun Ko on the company roster.  Chun Shun Ko is an executive from Frontier Services Group, “a military firm chaired by prominent Trump supporter Erik Prince.”  Emerdata Ltd. is listed at the same address as SCL and for all you conspiracy theorists out there that can’t help yourselves enjoy this video, “Erik Prince Blackwater:  Knight of Malta Tradition.”

And, folks, I haven’t even gotten to Brexit yet.

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