Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris faced threats against his family over his involvement in an affidavit claiming that MP Rosianne Cutajar pocketed thousands of euros from Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech as part of a 2019 Mdina property deal.
Speaking to Standards Commissioner George Hyzler as part of his investigation into the deal, Castaldi Paris revealed that he was approached by an unnamed individual soon after giving his first testimony in the case on 1st March 2021.
Castaldi Paris explained that the person had turned up to his office – warning him that his family would be in danger if he passed on the affidavit to authorities.
He revealed to Hyzler that it was not the first threat he received, with another coming months before.
The affidavit claimed that Cutajar pocketed some €46,500 for brokering a Mdina property deal involving Yorgen Fenech. The deal fell through in 2019 after Fenech was arrested and charged with conspiring to murder Caruana Galizia.
At the time, Cutajar was a PL MP and Fenech had already been outed as the owner of 17 Black, the Dubai-based company linked to alleged government corruption. She is believed to have kept the money while failing to declare it. The Standards Commissioner has since found her in breach of ethics and will not be reinstated to Cabinet.
Castaldi Paris, who competes against Cutajar on the 8th district in elections, is a notary by profession and had a longstanding relationship with the man behind the claim, Joseph Camilleri.
Camilleri initially approached Castaldi Paris to help intervene directly, asking him to speak to Prime Minister Robert Abela about the issue in return for a fee.
It was Castaldi Paris who asked Camilleri to issue an affidavit, feeling that it would be far more beneficial to approach the Prime Minister with evidence in hand. He was working on the case with Camilleri for close to 11 months.
However, Castaldi Paris, who was a highly reluctant witness in the Standards Commissioner’s investigation, refused to detail the conversation with Abela.
Castaldi Paris told the Standards Commissioner that he has not spoken with Abela about the issue since the claims were revealed.
Castaldi Paris, who was released from professional secrecy, was also resistant to commenting on the content of the affidavit, telling the Standards Commissioner that he did not have a copy of said document. The affidavit was initially ripped up by Camilleri, but was reproduced for the sake of the investigation, and has been confirmed by other parties.
The Standards Commissioner described Castaldi Paris’ role in the story as “ambiguous”.
Rosianne Cutajar faced intense questioning on the role of Castaldi Paris, claiming that Camilleri “entrapped” the MP by involving him in the case. The Standards Commissioner disagreed – with other testimonies backing the idea that Camilleri approached the Prime Minister because he did not want the issue to end up in court.
Cutajar has since lashed out at Hyzler’s report and said she planned to stay on as an MP as well as contest the next general election.
A parliamentary committee will now choose to admonish Cutajar, pass the report on to the police commissioner or anti-corruption commissioner, demand a public apology, or recommend that Parliament takes other measures it deems fit.
You can read the full report over here.
What do you think of Ian Castaldi’s role in the case?