Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his right-hand man Keith Schembri left their shared secret WhatsApp group with Yorgen Fenech soon after they were informed of the imminent arrest of middleman Melvin Theuma.
Lovin Malta is informed that Muscat and Schembri left the WhatsApp group by the end of October 2019, just days after Chief Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud informed the pair of their plans to arrest Theuma during the last of series of unprecedented briefings at Castille.
Theuma and Fenech were arrested just weeks later. Theuma has revealed they both knew they were soon to be apprehended.
As confirmed in previous reports, Muscat, Schembri, and Fenech shared hundreds of messages between them. Well-informed sources have previously revealed that there could between 800 to 1,000 messages between Schembri and Fenech.
The WhatsApp group existed between January and October 2019. Before that date, it was a private chat between Fenech and Muscat before Schembri was added.
Most of the messages seem to be innocuous, focusing on a picture of whiskies, wines, food, and women. There is a reference to the use of a secret room. Some have suggested it could be within Portomaso, others within Fenech’s Haz-Zebbug farmhouse.
Some messages, however, could have been linked to potential money laundering investigations. Disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi also received similar messages.
Schembri and Mizzi were questioned about these conversations. However, they have allegedly denied all wrongdoing. The pair have been released on police bail. Schembri’s police bail has been extended to 7th January, while Mizz’s expires on 13th January.
Muscat was reportedly questioned on these messages when he was brought in for questioning in September.
Reports have been linking the issue to WhatsApp conversations found on Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination main suspect Yorgen Fenech’s phone and potential trading in influence. However, well-informed sources have told Lovin Malta that the issue could extend far further.
Mizzi and Schembri are currently subject to a swathe of magisterial inquiries linked to Fenech, namely the ElectroGas deal and the Panama Papers scandal.
Fenech’s 17 Black was listed as the target clients for Tillgate and Hearnville, the two Panamanian companies owned by Schembri and Mizzi. Nexia BT was instrumental in setting up the Panamanian structures, while also finding themselves on committees in the deciding major deals during Mizzi’s tenure.
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.
Meanwhile, it has been recently revealed that Enemalta forked out €10.3 million to purchase a Montenegrin windfarm from a company linked to Yorgen Fenech.
Schembri was also recently arrested in connection to a money-laundering investigation linked to alleged kickbacks from the citizenship-by-investment scheme. Nexia BT’s Manuel Castagna, Brian Tonna, and Karl Cini were also arrested over the case. They are currently out on police bail and no charges have been filed.
Schembri also remains under investigation for his potential role in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and a potential attempted cover-up.
Other 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.
Meanwhile, former PN Leader Adrian Delia has also been confirmed to have exchanged messages with the businessman.
There are also claims that Fenech could have potentially had an affair with one sitting cabinet member.
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