NEW: OCCRP, @Reuters, @TheTimesofMalta, & @SZ reveal new details on the secret offshore companies and Chinese businessmen that journalist #DaphneCaruanaGalizia was investigating before her assassination — including the mysterious company "Macbridge." 1/…
What is Macbridge? Activists in Malta have pushed the gov’t to find out who’s behind the obscure company, which was mentioned by disgraced accounting firm Nexia BT in a leaked email that discussed channeling money to public officials. 2/
Today, we reveal that Macbridge is a Hong Kong-based firm tied to a prominent Chinese businessman who was also being relentlessly investigated by Caruana Galizia before her murder.

➡️ Chen Cheng, a senior exec at the Chinese branch of multinational consulting firm Accenture. 3/
Caruana Galizia was investigating Chen Cheng, and his role in helping a Chinese state-owned firm negotiate a deal to buy a third of Malta’s government-backed energy utility, Enemalta. 4/
When Nexia BT helped Maltese public officials Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi — both of whom Caruana Galizia was also looking into — to register secret companies in Panama, it also created a company for Chen in the British Virgin Islands. 5/
Evidence exposed in today’s investigation suggests that Chen too played a role in channeling money to the Panama companies of Schembri and Mizzi. 6/
What’s more, another company linked to Chen received money from 17 Black, an infamous firm owned by Yorgen Fenech, the accused mastermind of Caruana Galizia’s murder.

We reveal that this Chen-linked company, Dow’s Media Ltd., received €1m from 17 Black in 2016. 7/
Chen’s ties to Macbridge and Dow’s Media flow through his mother-in-law, a KFC restaurant operator named Tang Zhaomin, and Wang Rui, Tang’s cousin.

Here’s a look at how these companies were set up. 8/
Chen and Tang, his mother-in-law, also have ties to one of Malta’s biggest industries: selling visas to wealthy foreigners seeking a backdoor into the EU — a topic Caruana Galizia reported on before her death. 9/
Both Chen and Tang share business interests with Mao Haibin, aka Kevin Mao, who runs the company that holds the official concession to sell Maltese residency visas in China.

Here’s a look at how Chen, Tang, and Mao are connected to each other — and key players in Malta. 10/
Chen has so far avoided a great deal of scrutiny, and it is unclear if Maltese authorities are aware of his apparent connections to Macbridge, whose ownership has never before been publicly revealed. 11/
Follow "The Daphne Project" for more of our reporting on the killing of #DaphneCaruanaGalizia and her unfinished work. 12/…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @OCCRP

25 Mar
NEW: Ukraine’s top pro-Kremlin politician, Viktor Medvedchuk, and his business partner paid just $40,000 to secure a stake in a Russian energy firm.

It has since paid them tens of millions of dollars in dividends.

OCCRP and @cxemu investigate👇 1/…
This bargain sale, done via companies in Cyprus, was finalized on the same day in 2014 that dozens of gunmen in unmarked military fatigues, known as "little green men," stormed the Crimean parliament.

Both events have helped Russia assert influence in Ukraine. 2/
Medvedchuk and his business partner, Taras Kozak, were recently sanctioned by Ukraine’s government for allegedly financing terrorism. Three news channels under their control have been taken off the air. 3/
Read 4 tweets
24 Mar
NEW: A former CIA director and a Trump fundraiser arrived in Turkey in 2018 to help an imprisoned pastor.

What they didn't know was that their host, a businessman linked to Turkey’s president, was entangled in a half-billion-dollar fraud case. 1/…
OCCRP and @LawCrimeNews have reconstructed the backchannel trip, which saw former spy chief James Woolsey and current Republican National Committee co-chair Tommy Hicks Jr. attempt to secure the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson. 2/
Their Turkish host was Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, a businessman implicated in a fraud case involving a Mormon fundamentalist sect, Armenian-American organized crime, and the theft of half a billion dollars from the U.S. government. 3/
Read 5 tweets
12 Mar
NEW: It’s been widely reported that the Estonian branch of Danske Bank let billions in suspicious money move through its accounts.

Now, a previously unseen report obtained by @berlingske provides stunning new details on how this looked in practice. 1/…
The report, produced by Estonian regulators in 2014, reads like a "how-to" of money laundering.

It lists technique after technique the bank’s shady foreign clients used to move large sums.

It also makes clear that the bank had little interest in questioning its clients. 2/
For example, the bank’s "relationship managers" accepted documentation from clients written in Azerbaijani, though no one on the team spoke the language.

(The bank said that one of its employees used Google Translate). 3/
Read 11 tweets
12 Mar
ANNOUNCEMENT: OCCRP is being sued by Stanko Subotić, a powerful Serbian businessman whom we've written about in several investigations.

We stand by our reporting and will not be intimidated by vexatious lawsuits.…
OCCRP Publisher @DrewOCCRP and @KRIK journalist @DraganaPeco are also named in this suit, which is over this story from 2018. 2/…
Subotić alleges OCCRP and KRIK published the story as part of a media campaign against him orchestrated by the Serbian secret service, the mafia, and corrupt politicians.

"Mr. Subotić has no evidence of these demonstrably false claims," said Sullivan. 3/
Read 7 tweets
11 Mar
NEW: A Miami mansion, ties to Italian crime figures, and a bar shootout.

Meet Artur Shehu: An Albanian businessman who has been accused of building a property empire of stolen land in Albania.

Our investigation with @MiamiHerald: 1/…
Shehu, who offered OCCRP’s reporter "whatever you want" in exchange for dropping the story, is accused of stealing land meant to be returned to Albanians after the collapse of its communist government.

Italian police have linked him to drug trafficking and money laundering. 2/
A former special forces soldier, Shehu allegedly prospered in drug trafficking.

But his time in Albania ended in 1999 after his uncle was gunned down at Shehu’s bar, dying in his arms. 3/
Read 6 tweets
10 Mar
NEW: Two Belarusian businessmen with ties to the regime of dictator Alexander Lukashenko have sprawling business empires that, we reveal, extend to Lithuania.

OCCRP, @Sienalt, and @Belsat_TV investigate their business activity in this EU member state. 1/…
2/ Alexei Aleksin and Alexander Zaytsev are a new breed of Belarusian businessmen: relatively young, global in outlook, and free from EU sanctions.

The pair emerged just as Belarus’s previous generation of oligarchs were sanctioned.
3/ When Aleksin decided to launch his own cigarette factory, Lukashenko personally redrew the borders of the Belarusian capital to ensure it would be located outside the city, and therefore less encumbered by building regulations.
Read 7 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!