Keith Schembri and Yorgen Fenech thought Adrian Delia could be a useful asset to their plans, with the former OPM chief staff assuring the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect that as long as he was in power, Delia would be protected and remain PN leader.
Well informed sources detailed how in January 2019, Schembri and Fenech were discussing potential weak points within the PN amid growing pressure following the reveal that Fenech was the owner of 17 Black, the Dubai-based company linked to alleged government corruption.
“As long as I’m here, they will not touch him,” Schembri reportedly told Fenech.
The conversations are the latest in a long line of revelations showing attempts by Fenech to infiltrate the PN to guarantee its cooperation in the scandal, which had several of its MPs fighting tooth and nail to ensure that justice prevails.
In messages to a well-known businesswoman, Fenech even allegedly claims that Delia had visited his offices to ask for funds, just days before two of his closest allies MPs Kristy Debono and Hermann Schiavone met with him.
Fenech felt he could use his endless supply of funds to apply pressure points to the former PN leader, who he said was heavily in debt. This, he said, made Delia a far more attractive option than his predecessor, Simon Busuttil.
Delia outright denied this claim made by Fenech in a conversation with a third party.
Lovin Malta has previously revealed attempts by Fenech to court Delia and members of his inner circle, namely former PN head of media Pierre Portelli, who colluded with Fenech to leak stories against internal party rivals – some of whom formed part of the fight for justice in the case.
This included stories against Casa, Chris Said, who competed against Adrian Delia for PN leadership, and Nickie Vella de Fremaux, Delia’s estranged ex-wife.
Meanwhile, Delia and Portelli are also subject to a magisterial inquiry concerning claims that they accepted regular 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 European Parliament elections.
The pair have vociferously denied the claims, with Delia dismissing any suggestions of a relationship with Fenech beyond a few messages.
Delia was not the only PN figure targetted by Fenech. Lovin Malta has recently revealed that Fenech and then-Minister Chris Cardona had discussed bringing former MEP candidate Frank Psaila on board with their plans through promises of employment following his unsuccessful campaign. Psaila turned down all advances.
Fenech is currently facing a life sentence in the murder trial. However, Schembri has escaped any charges in the case despite several testimonies and evidence suggesting his involvement in the murder or its attempted cover-up.
He was later charged in connection to several financial crimes linked to the sale of Maltese passports and Allied Newspapers’ purchase of printing equipment. He has been absent from court due to illness.
What do you think of Fenech and Schembri’s strategy?