Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne is convinced journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by someone who wanted to “shut her up” and fire off a warning shot to other journalists in the country.
“I am convinced that Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered to shut her up; why else kill a journalist? It could have been a sign to intimidate other journalists,” Fearne said during the public inquiry looking into Caruana Galizia’s murder.
Caruana Galizia was assassinated by car bomb on 16th October 2017. Yorgen Fenech, the Tumas Group businessman connected to the Electrogas and the Panama Papers scandal, has been charged as the alleged mastermind in the crime. Electrogas defaulting on its massive loans because of major corruptions allegations, has emerged as a main motive.
Her assassination was never discussed in Cabinet.
“I don’t recall if it was a formal topic in a Cabinet memo but it was definitely being spoken about. The murder was the most shocking event of my political career,” Fearne revealed.
Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has been interrogated under caution, while his right-hand-man Keith Schembri remains under investigation. The pair, it’s been revealed, shared an intimate relationship with Fenech.
Fearne was replying to questions from parte civile lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia over a Deutsche Welle interview he gave shortly after the assassination.
In the interview, Fearne had said that freedom of expression in Malta was threatened. He also gave some hope that the many car bombs that preceded Caruana Galizia’s murder would be solved. No arrests over the other car bombs have been made since.
During the inquiry, Fearne did disavow the rampant attacks against Caruana Galizia, which were usually led by the Labour Party machine.
“I was never in favour of personal attacks,” he said.
Caruana Galizia was a vociferous government critic, covering and revealing major issues like the Electrogas deal, Vitals deal, and the Panama Papers saga.
However, it seems that Electrogas defaulting on loans could be a motive behind the murder.
Mizzi and Schembri’s Panama companies listed 17 Black as their target client, along with the as-yet-unknown Macbridge.
17 Black is the Dubai company of Yorgen Fenech, the main suspect in the murder.
A report by the FIAU found that 17 Black had received at least three payments – one of €161,000 from the Maltese local agent for the tanker supplying gas to the LNG power station and two separate payments amounting to €1.1 million from Baratzada through ABLV Bank.
ABLV was raided in one of Latvia’s most extensive investigations into money laundering yet.
More recently, 17 Black was found to be at the centre of a dubious deal involving the purchase of a Montenegro wind farm by Malta’s state-owned Enemalta plc.
Recent reports by Reuters and Times of Malta uncovered that the Maltese government had agreed to pay out €10.3 million for a Montenegro wind farm that had just been bought for €2.9 million two weeks prior.
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