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Bernard Grech Blasts Minister Carmelo Abela For ‘Forgetting’ He Testified Over HSBC Heist 

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Opposition leader Bernard Grech has called out OPM Minister Carmelo Abela for claiming to have forgotten that he had testified in connection with the failed 2010 HSBC heist.

In an interview this morning, Grech said straight out that he doesn’t believe Abela’s version of events and called out Prime Minister Robert Abela for not taking any action against his ministry.

“It’s clear that Carmelo Abela isn’t credible when he claims to have forgotten testifying,” Grech said. “I remember clients coming to my legal office, scared that they were going to have to testify in court, not because they did anything wrong but because it wasn’t normal for them and the mere act of testifying scared them.”

“However, Carmelo Abela says he doesn’t remember testifying about an issue like this – do you believe him? I forgot what I ate yesterday and the day before but I remember testifying in a magisterial inquiry back in 2004 after I ran over a girl and I remember the inquiry concluding that I wasn’t at fault. There are certain incidents which are impossible to forget unless you have amnesia.”

Police are investigating Abela, who was a senior HSBC officer at the time of the heist, following allegations that he may have helped the robbers by giving them key cards to access sensitive areas of the bank.

A police inspector recently informed Giovanni Grixti, the judge overseeing the longstanding case against heist suspects Vincent Muscat and Darren Debono, that this investigation is underway and asked for a copy of Abela’s testimony, which was given behind closed doors.

Instead of handing over the testimony straight away, Grixti informed Abela and the Attorney General of the police’s request. 

Through his lawyer Pawlu Lia, Abela insisted that he has forgotten testifying in the first place but that “if he did” then he has no problem with the police being given a copy of his testimony.

He also requested that he also be given a copy of the testimony as all other documents about him that may be given to the police commissioner.”

On 10th May, Judge Grixti noted that Abela’s response was conditional on him also receiving the evidence and therefore notified the AG, the police commissioner, Vincent Muscat and Darren Debono.

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi had said Muscat, who has been convicted for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, may be ready to implicate Abela in the heist. Abela has vehemently denied the claims and has filed libel proceedings against Azzopardi, which are set to commence tomorrow.

Abela has denounced the allegations as false and the result of a “conspiracy” between Azzopardi and “criminals who want to get away with murder”.
“I believe that the police are obliged to investigate allegations, which are being made over 10 years after the mentioned case, at a moment when criminals started lobbying for a presidential pardon,” he said in response to questions by Times of Malta. “However, I also expect the politician making these allegations to assume responsibility and resign, evident that he has been pushing fabricated lies,” he said.
“It stands to reason that I welcome any type of investigation into the allegations made by Azzopardi and his criminal friends. Therefore, as you rightly pointed out in reference to my reply to the police’s request, I have absolutely no difficulty with the police’s access to my deposition.”

READ NEXT: Judge Informs Carmelo Abela He’s Under Police Investigation Over Bank Heist, Minister Claims He Forgot Testimony

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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