From: Alice Taylor
Exit Explains: Who’s Behind the Durres Port Concession?

The Port of Durres concession has been awarded to a Maltese company, Hili Company LTD for a period of five years and a value of EUR 30 million.

The company will be responsible for processing containers in Quay 6 of the Port which is the largest commercial hub in the country.

Hili Company LTD owned, by way of a complex web of other companies, by several Maltese individuals.

One of the shareholders of Hili Company is Baltimore Consulting Limited. This, in turn, is owned by Richard Abdilla Castillo. He had been a Director of Hili Group but resigned in 2016 when another company he ran was investigated for money laundering. He later took up the role once again, after the investigation was shelved.

The company, Baltimore Fiduciary was identified in a police investigation as the nominee shareholder and name-lender for CapitalOne Investment Group, a company whose owners were suspected of involvement in drug trafficking in the Netherlands. Following a Dutch drug bust in 2012, Maltese police requested banking information on CapitalOne as they believed that large amounts of cash were being transferred to it.

The investigation ground to a halt when it became known that Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami was a director of Baltimore Fiduciary. A government inquiry yielded little in the way of criminal culpability but Baltimore were fined EUR 16,000 for breaching the Trusts and Trustees Act.

Baltimore Fiduciary is also a shareholder of Motherwell Bridge Projects Limited which in turn is a shareholder of the company that won the concession.

Another shareholder, Carmelo Caruana Company Limited is part-owned by Austin Gatt, a former Maltese Nationalist Party MP and the Energy Minister. He had reported ‘close ties’ to an ‘oil scandal’ with oil trader Geroge Farrugia.

Farrugia was granted a presidential pardon for revealing information about a network of bribery for the procurement of oil to state corporation Enemalta. He was involved in brokering kickbacks between oil providers and Enemalta officials to secure tenders and purchases. It was revealed that he had met with Gatt on several occasions to discuss oil procurement. Farrugia also made a donation to Gatt’s electoral campaign in 2009

Interestingly, Kenneth Spiteri is also listed as a Director, Legal Representative and Judicial Representative of Carmelo Caruana Company. He was once a senior official at Transport Malta before being suspended for allegations he provided inside information to the aforementioned oil trader George Farrugia. It’s alleged he kept Farrugia informed of inside information relating to tenders and procurement. It was not investigated by the police.

Also involved is Peterson Offshore Group which has a Dutch branch and a Maltese branch. They are described as an international energy logistics company and have bases all over Europe and North Africa. John Bain, its CFO is also involved in the network of companies that own Hili Company.

Carmelo Hili is the Chairman of Premier Capital which Castilio was involved in at the time of the money-laundering scandal. He is also a well-known businessman in Malta, referred to as an “oligarch but not known for being corrupt” by a source on the ground in the country. He is behind Hili Company, Hili Ventures and various other companies in a number of sectors.

James McScporran’s name also comes up in the complex web of companies. A Google search reveals he is the Director of Clydeport which is owned by Peel Ports Group, one of the largest port operators in the UK.

Another company, CMA CGM Malta Agency is also a shareholder of Hili Company. CMA CGM is an international container and shipping company with branches all over the world. In 2010 they were implicated in a North Korean arms trading scandal. Authorities in Durban confiscated two containers carrying North Korean tank parts hidden in rice. Bound for Congo it travelled on CMA CGM vessels and had been specifically requested for the task. They were allegedly cooperating with the authorities in terms of the investigation.  It was alleged they had engaged in similar activity with Iran. In 2006, three individuals admitted they took bribes from regional managers of CMA CGM in Cairo.

Albanian company Pelikan, owned by Feruz Mataj is the exclusive representative of CMA CGM in Albania but Exit wasn’t able to identify the involvement of Pelikan via the network of companies.

Others involved include Davide Angelo Biron Camagni, Mario Victor Gatt, and Ian Carmichael Douglas Fletcher who have no online presence beyond their Directorships in various companies.