Economy Minister Chris Cardona met one of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s alleged killers at a bachelor party four months before the journalist was murdered in a car bomb, it has emerged.
The news was revealed by the Daphne Project through Italian newspaper La Repubblica, days before the anniversary of Caruana Galizia’s death.
Last April, Cardona was asked by the Daphne Project whether he knew any of the suspects, in the context of claims that he met one of them at a Siggiewi bar before the murder. This was his reply: “Like most seasoned criminal lawyers in Malta, I know who some of the suspects in the case are. The particular pub you mention welcomes patrons from all walks of life, including other politicians. I do not however recall having any discussions with any of these individuals, and have definitely never had any meetings with them. Anything else is baseless rumour and speculation.”
La Repubblica today also revealed that an alleged fuel smuggler made two calls in succession a year before the murder after having spoken to Caruana Galizia on the phone about a story mentioning him. After hanging up from Caruana Galizia, he first called Cardona and then Degiorgio.
Tonight Cardona did not deny the phone call or the bachelor party, but said the following in response:
“Yet again, a number of media outlets have published allegations about me which are speculative, and distort the facts, in order to suit a particular narrative they are persistently trying to push. The Times of Malta says it best when it admits that: ‘According to a source briefed on the magisterial inquiry, there is no evidence to link Dr Cardona to the murder, or any wrongdoing.’”
“These smears are highly damaging and false. The media stories published today omit the fact that I have, of my own volition, gone to the Malta Police and given a statement to the chief prosecutor. I have also offered my availability to the authorities to clarify any issues surrounding the allegations made. At this point, I must insist that if the media does have any relevant information that may help the investigation, that they pass it immediately on to the authorities rather than leave it for further stage-managed ‘revelations’.”
“The investigation into the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia is one of the largest in Maltese judicial history. It should not be undermined by endless speculation and innuendo by international journalists who are falling in to the trap of Maltese partisan politics. I therefore appeal to all journalists to cooperate openly with the police if they have any information that could help lead to justice. I, of course, remain available to the authorities at all times.”
The Daphne Project had previously also alleged that Cardona had been seen speaking to Degiorgio at a Siggiewi bar before the murder of Caruana Galizia.