Opposition leader Adrian Delia’s attempt at reconciliation with supporters of Daphne Caruana Galizia by attending yesterday’s protest hasn’t gone down too well, with relatives of the assassinated journalist publicly denouncing him as part of Malta’s problem.
Caruana Galizia’s sister Mandy Mallia said that “heavies” who surrounded Delia at yesterday’s protest in Valletta acted violently towards minors who held up placards with the words biċċa blogger (a mere blogger) – a term Delia had used to pour scorn on Caruana Galizia during last year’s PN leadership campaign.
“This photo is for him [Delia],” Mallia said as she posted the photo on her Facebook page. “It is also for the ‘heavies’ who pushed a minor aside for carrying one of the posters at yesterday’s protest, for the activists who asked another minor to remove theirs a few seconds later (they didn’t), and for the women who lunged at us and heckled us a few metres on for carrying them.
But, most of all, the posters – and this photo – are for Daphne, who was always on the right side of history, and to whom we all owe justice.”
Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew described Delia’s presence at the protest as “an attempt at reputation laundering”.
“Your fight as citizens is for your own dignity. It’s not to get rid of one gang—that of Joseph Muscat—and replace it with another—that of Adrian Delia,” he said. “Look at the people surrounding him in his wider life: pimps, drug traffickers and all sorts of other dangerous people. The man is a gangster in a suit.
“His supporters say his sin was to sue my mother five times. It goes further than that. Delia still hasn’t explained his association with people who could have had a hand in the bombing, including Chris Cardona and the Bajada crime family, who still support him. Is that really who you want to lead you?”
Delia has kept his distance from most of the protests and vigils organised in the wake of Caruana Galizia’s assassination, which he said was out of respect for the late journalist’s family, who continue to shun him. However, he decided to attend yesterday’s protest, telling his supporters that “we shall stand tall and march together. We shall persevere till the end, till the truth is told, till justice prevails”.
While a few PN MPs, including former leader Simon Busuttil, stood at the front of the protest, Delia and the majority of his parliamentary group positioned themselves towards the back of the crowd.
What are the accusations against Delia?
During last year’s PN leadership campaign, Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote that Delia had helped launder money from Soho brothels that were owned by his client Eucharist Bajada and rented out to his younger brother Emanuel Bajada and his wife Eva Bajada, who then sub-let it to other landlords. One of the brothels, in Greek Street, was raided by the British police in 2003 and the couple who ran it was jailed for entrapping Eastern European women to London with the promise of domestic work but then forcing them to work as prostitutes by threatening to kill their families.
According to Caruana Galizia, the pimps who ran the brothels would pass on £2,000 in cash to Eve Bajada as ‘rent’ and she would then deposit it in smaller sums to a Jersey bank account owned by Adrian Delia. Delia would then transfer that same money to bank accounts owned by two offshore companies, one in the Bahamas and one in the Marshall Islands, owned by Eucharist Bajada.
Delia was director of the Bahamas company, along with Economy Minister Chris Cardona – back then a Labour MP.
In December 2003, the Bajadas sent a legal letter to Delia after some £1.4 million which he should have paid to the offshore companies went missing. Shortly after, Emanuel Bajada was convicted in Malta of running two brothels out of guest houses in Sliema and St Julian’s and chose Chris Cardona as his defence lawyer. The house in Greek Street was later transferred to Mark Barbara, now working as Cardona’s chauffeur, and later to a BVI offshore company with an unknown UBO.
Delia has repeatedly insisted that he was merely acting in his capacity as lawyer and has publicly challenged the police to investigate the allegations that he had laundered money.
The Daphne Project recently quoted an eyewitness as stating he had seen Cardona chatting with Alfred Degiorgio – one of the three men charged with Caruana Galizia’s murder – at a popular Siggiewi bar in November last year. Cardona has dismissed the report as “clearly speculative, based on hearsay which have no foundation of truth”.