Ucoma officials verified that the senior Maltese official had collaborated for years with Grupo Fuentes in the Tarantelo operation
Malta fisheries director suspended for alleged illegal tuna trade
Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 07:00 (GMT + 9)
Malta fisheries department Director Andreina Fenech Farrugia was indefinitely suspended after allegations of taking money as part of Spanish illegal tuna trade. This was also confirmed by a spokesperson for the Ministry for the Environment.
According to transcripts published by Spanish El Confidencial, Fenech Farrugia spoke to Jose Fuentes Garcia, the man allegedly responsible for illegal tuna trade which authorities suspect has gone up to €25 million. Fuentes is the head of the Grupo Fuentes, the largest seller of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the world.
Fragment of the proceedings of the Civil Guard transferred to the National Court.(Photo: El Confidencial)
She was quoted by the media as having said, “I am in Bulgaria just for you. You have to pay me, because I have a meeting with the [director] general of Brussels.”
Grupo Fuentes also has a Maltese subsidiary, Mare Blue Fishing, which according to its accounts, lost €7.5 million in 2017 with a gross profit of €26 million.
Government of Malta press release
Operation Tarantella is the name of the investigation by Spanish and Maltese authorities which is being dubbed the largest illegal tuna trade investigation in EU history.
According to The Times of Malta, this is the second time she has been removed from a top position in the department after EU fisheries officials’ advice in 2011, but she was reinstated in 2013 by the PL Government.
Source: Mathias Mallia/newsbook.com.mt