Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech travelled to the wedding of the Pilatus Bank chairman in 2015, alongside Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his chief of staff Keith Schembri, Lovin Malta has learnt.
The three travelled together to Italy for the small wedding of Sayed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad who is currently facing charges in the US over alleged sanctions dodging and money laundering.
They stayed at the Roccoforte Hotel in Florence – at the expense of Sadr Hasheminejad – and the wedding was held at the Four Seasons.
Pilatus Bank was at the centre of the Egrant scandal and was shut down by the European Central Bank in November 2018.
In March 2018, Muscat and Schembri had confirmed they attended the wedding. Muscat had also said he had combined the wedding with a personal holiday in Italy.
Meanwhile, MaltaToday this morning reported that Fenech also paid for Schembri’s cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic, forking out some €24,000.
Fenech and Schembri were childhood friends and were in the past years revealed to have had a business connection through secret Dubai company 17 Black, which Schembri admitted was included in a business plan of his Kasco group of companies.
Fenech recently told the court that their friendship was “fraternal”, while Schembri admitted they were friends who went on holiday three times over the span of seven years and even spent time on his yacht.
Their friendship was a focal point of a Constitutional Case filed by Fenech to remove lead investigator Keith Arnaud from the case.
One of Fenech’s accusations is that Arnaud allowed Schembri to attend security briefings on the case, despite knowing about his intimate friendship with the lead suspect.
Schembri told the court this week that he never disclosed his friendship with Fenech to anyone.
Arnaud said under oath that he was not aware of the close friendship between Schembri and Fenech. He made no reference to Fenech’s ownership of 17 Black and Schembri’s statement, back in November 2018, that he had business plans with the Dubai company.
The news today that Fenech paid for Schembri’s cancer treatment and that the two travelled together to the Pilatus Bank chairman’s wedding paints an even clearer picture of their friendship. It is not clear whether Arnaud was aware about either of these facts at some point during his two-year investigation into the case.
Schembri’s cancer treatment made headlines again this week after the full Egrant report was published. The report includes a detailed testimony from Schembri who said Caruana Galizia’s reporting of his health problems “crossed the limit”.
In the Egrant report, Muscat is also quoted as saying that he only attended the Pilatus Bank chairman’s wedding because he wanted to speak to the CEO of Coca Cola.