Chris Cardona has denied he was ever arrested over a 2010 bank heist, a sensational claim made by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi in Parliament earlier this week.
“It’s a lie. Jason Azzopardi is lying,” the former Economy Minister told Lovin Malta when questioned.
Azzopardi claimed former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had known about Cardona’s arrest but chose him as a 2013 candidate anyway and later appointed him as a minister in his Cabinet.
Asked whether he would take any action against Azzopardi, Cardona said he could not sue because of parliamentary privilege. He pointed out that Azzopardi did not repeat the claims outside of Parliament.
Earlier today Cardona took to Instagram to post a photo of a Labour mass meeting, the same photo ex-OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri had posted to Facebook alongside his 1,400-word tirade against the investigation that led him to being charged in court and remanded in custody.
Cardona added the soundtrack of Robert Miles’s children to the photo.
Asked why he shared that specific photo today, and whether he was sending a message, Cardona said: “No. It’s just memories. I think the Partit Laburista is now truly reuniting and all these incredible attacks by people like Manuel Delia and Jason Azzopardi are making us stronger by the minute.”
“As a country its sad to have self-inflated egos like theirs but they are the ones helping Labour indirectly. People cannot stand Manuel Delia and his conflict-mining* past or Jason Azzopardi who is the biggest hypocrite Malta ever had.”
Lovin Malta also asked Cardona for his reaction to Schembri’s arraignment and imprisonment. Was it a vindication of sorts of him seeing as Cardona had wanted Schembri expelled from the party after claims that he tried to frame Cardona for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder?
“No, it’s not. For me it is very sad to see a former colleague ending up in preventive custody. I know how much he worked in order to enjoy the unprecedented success that the Muscat Administration achieved.”
In December 2019, Cardona had said: “Keith Schembri has to be removed from the party immediately even if it’s already been too late. The damage that is being done to the party means we have to send a clear message – if not then the party is complicit. I also want to make it clear that contrary to what was said, Keith Schembri didn’t win 10 elections for the Labour Party. The Labour Party won because the population had faith in it and believed that only the Labour Party had the best vision for our country.”
Asked if something changed between him and Schembri, Cardona said he was consistent.
“It wasn’t him alone. But he was part of that success,” Cardona, who is no longer an MP, said.
“Unlike Manuel and Jason who are natural losers and brought nothing, achieved nothing, when they had the chance. Delia in public transport was a joke. And Jason was blemished with cases of corruption because of his greed. Everybody knows how greedy he is. His wife can confirm this.”
Delia is an activist-blogger who forms part of the group Repubblika. Azzopardi is also the lawyer of the Caruana Galizia family.
Schembri was last week charged with a raft of financial crimes including corruption, perjury and money laundering.
Meanwhile, Minister Carmelo Abela has also denied any involvement with the 2010 heist after fingers were pointed at him following a pardon request by Daphne Caruana Galizia killer Vince Muscat, known as Il-Kohhu.
Muscat has claimed that he has information about a sitting minister involved in the HSBC heist. Abela was a manager of HSBC at the time.
*Manuel Delia has got in touch to deny the “absurd” allegation that he ever had any involvement in conflict-mining.
What do you make of Cardona’s comments?