Jason Azzopardi Confirms He Stayed At Israeli Hotel Paid By Tumas Group In 2017 Before 17 Black Reveal
Jason Azzopardi, the PN MP and parte civil lawyer in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case has confirmed that he did spend five days at the Hilton in Tel-Aviv, paid for by Tumas Group, the company owned by the assassination’s main suspect, Yorgen Fenech.
However, he dismissed any wrongdoing, explaining it was paid for without his foreknowledge and insisted that claims form part of criminal web attempting to stop his work.
“Yorgen Fenech never gave me anything,” Azzopardi told Lovin Malta.
Following a report by Illum, Azzopardi confirmed the visit between 19th and 24th July 2017. This was before Fenech was revealed to be the owner of 17 Black.
Azzopardi said he had called Ray Fenech, Yorgen Fenech’s uncle, to ask whether he could help out in finding him a hotel in the Israeli capital.
“It was only when I was checking out that the receptionist told me that it had been taken care of.”
“I was surprised because I handed over my credit card for details when I was checking in, as I always do. I called him or sent him a message telling him that I did not expect it but would go thank him as soon as I arrived in Malta.”
“I remember that on arrival, I bought him a gift from a shop and took it to his office in Portomaso and left it at the reception with a thank you note, detailing that I would no obligation.”
“I have no obligation and it is a public fact that I have taken a hard line against the corruption of Yorgen Fenech in my line work. There are those in the Labour Party who organised the HSBC hold-up in 2010. Whoever is involved in organised crime in the Labor Government will not stop me from working,” Azzopardi told Lovin Malta.
Azzopardi recently told Xtra, which is the TV offshoot of Illum’s parent newspaper Malta Today, that to his knowledge he had never accepted any gifts from Tumas Group. He added that people would need to differentiate between what happened before the 17 Black reveal and after.
Fenech’s 17 Black was listed as the target clients for Tillgate and Hearnville, the two Panamanian companies owned by disgraced former Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and former minister Konrad Mizzi, by December 2015.
According to one e-mail found in the Panama Papers, Schembri and Mizzi were set to receive payments of up to $2 million from 17 Black. The company has since been linked to the controversial Enemalta purchase of Montenegrin windfarms.
Reuters had revealed that Fenech was the owner of the company on 9th November 2018.
Recent reports have revealed the extent of Fenech and Tumas Group’s relationship with Malta’s top officials. MFSA Executive Chairman Joseph Cuschieri and MFSA official Edwina Licarii were suspended from their roles following revelations that the pair had gone on a Las Vegas trip with Fenech.
WhatsApp exchanges are also being laid bare. Fenech shared over 700 messages with Malta’s Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis between January 2019 and October 2019.
There are also roughly 800 messages between Fenech and former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s right-hand man, Keith Schembri, who remains under investigation for his potential role in the crime.
It has also been confirmed by inspectors that Muscat, Schembri, and Fenech had a shared WhatsApp group between themselves. Meanwhile, former PN Leader Adrian Delia has also been confirmed to have exchanged messages with the businessman.
Sources have suggested that many key political figures, including Zammit Lewis and potential other cabinet members, could pay the price for the questionable communication.
There are also claims that Fenech could have potentially had an affair with one sitting cabinet member.
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