Adrian Delia will not comment on revelations that his former right-hand man, former Head of Media.Link Pierre Portelli, colluded with Yorgen Fenech to publish articles on internal party rivals during his tenure as PN leader.
“No, I was absolutely not and am still not aware of anyone’s chats with Yorgen Fenech. Replying to snippets every so often about this matter will not help the PN and will feed into the narrative of those who want to see a divisive party,” Delia told Lovin Malta.
Delia declined to comment further when asked for a specific comment about the cosy relationship one of his closest aide’s had with Fenech, who at the time was already outed as the owner of 17 Black, the Dubai-based company linked to major corruption allegations.
Rather than address the issue, Delia turned his attentions to admonish the source of the information – claiming that “high ranking members of the PN” are familiar with the exchanges.
“This is a very serious and grave matter which I must understand Francis Zammit Dimech and other top officials in the party will also be keen to investigate and take the appropriate action upon.”
“I’m intrigued how any tiniest piece of reference irrespective of whether it’s true or totally capricious relating to Pierre Portelli sparks enthusiasm and invokes reference to myself whilst a damning examination in chief conducted on former Most Corrupt Prime Minister of the Year Joseph Muscat by myself in the massive Vitals case which has revealed direct responsibility upon him fails completely to solicit at least the tiniest shred of interest,” he said.
It should be noted that Lovin Malta has reported extensively on the Vitals issue and Delia’s case. Lovin Malta even followed the sitting where Muscat testified live and spoke to Delia about it afterwards.
Well-informed sources have told Lovin Malta that Pierre Portelli would regularly reach out to Fenech on WhatsApp while serving as the PN’s head of Media.Link to collaborate the publication of particular material.
Sources explained that sometime in January 2019, Portelli reached out to Fenech – detailing a ‘plot’ by internal rivals to oust then-leader Adrian Delia and position Chris Said as his interim replacement.
He allegedly asked Fenech to get the material published as soon as possible, telling him to reach out to L-Orizzont, the General Workers’ Union’s newspaper. Fenech, sources said, had contacts within the media house.
Sources said that Portelli was looking to build up support for the embattled leader through an attempted coup by internal rivals.
On another occasion in January 2019, sources said that Portelli even asked Fenech to pass on a video of Delia’s estranged spouse, Nickie Vella De Fremaux, to Labour Party trolls. At the time, Delia and Vella De Fremaux were going through a messy separation.
Fenech did on occasion feed information to Portelli for publication.
Also in January 2019, Fenech allegedly asked Portelli if he could send questions to then-Lands Authority Head James Piscopo to ascertain the total remuneration of his various appointments within the government.
Times of Malta had previously reported that police are investigating a claim that Piscopo had hid around €600,000 in an offshore bank account in Jersey. This claim was reportedly peddled by the former Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, who tried to use Fenech to get this published in the press.
Portelli refused to respond to questions sent by Lovin Malta on the issue.
Portelli is still an Executive Member of the PN – and the allegations expressly deal with a period while he was serving as the PN’s head of media and Delia’s right-hand-man.
Portelli has also been subject to claims that he and Delia accepted payments from Fenech, which some have suggested could have been a bribe.
Under court testimony, Keith Schembri claimed that Portelli would meet Fenech once a month to collect €20,000. Meanwhile, he also claimed that Delia took €50,000 from Fenech to ensure that PN MEP David Casa was not re-elected during the 2019 elections.
The pair have both vociferously denied the claims. An inquiry has been opened into the claims.
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