Fresh revelations over Yorgen Fenech’s WhatsApp conversations have emerged in court, with the disgraced former Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri confirming that he shared a private group with Fenech, Malta’s former Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta, then-MFSA head Joe Cuschieri, and Schembri’s private secretary Kenneth Azzopardi.
The group, Schembri confirmed, is no longer operational. It was suggested by PN MP Jason Azzopardi, lawyer of the relatives of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who posed the first question, that the group was closed just before the arrests of the three men charged with carrying out the assassination of Caruana Galizia in December 2017.
Schembri said he could not remember when the date was closed.
Middleman-turned-state-witness Melvin Theuma has confirmed that both he and Fenech were informed of the raids well in advance. Theuma says that Fenech said he got the information directly from Schembri and Valletta, who is the recently estranged husband of Education Minister Justyne Caruana.
The pair allegedly leaked a wealth of information on murder suspect Vince Muscat’s potential pardon, information that their phones were wiretapped, and that Chris Cardona’s number was discovered on the phone of one of Caruana Galizia’s killers.
Valletta, who is referred to as “Valletta l-oħxon” in Theuma’s secret recordings of Fenech, was leading the case into the assassination until he was forcibly removed by court order.
He was the one who set up unprecedented briefings with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri on the case. The briefings started soon after the murder and continued up until a month before Theuma’s arrest.
Valletta was revealed to have held intimate dinners with Fenech and to have gone abroad with him on at least two occasions. Meanwhile, there exists a video of Valletta “fooling around” in Fenech’s Rolls Royce.
Cuschieri, meanwhile, was recently made to resign after it emerged that he had flown to Las Vegas with Fenech in 2018, a trip paid for by Fenech.
Cuschieri, who counts President George Vella as a father-in-law, had only just resigned as CEO at the Malta Gaming Authority a month prior. He insists there was no wrongdoing.
Kenneth Azzopardi was Schembri’s private secretary.
Several WhatsApp exchanges have already been laid bare. Fenech shared over 700 messages with Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis between January 2019 and October 2019. There are also roughly 800 WhatsApp messages between Fenech and Schembri.
It has also been confirmed by inspectors that Muscat, Schembri, and Fenech had a shared WhatsApp group between themselves.
Schembri is out on police bail over the contents of the conversations.
Former PN Leader Adrian Delia has also been confirmed to have exchanged messages with the businessman. Schembri says Delia and former head of media Pierre Portelli were regular features at Fenech’s Haż-Żebbuġ farmhouse.