Malta’s President was the subject of murky conversations between PN’s Head of Media Pierre Portelli and Yorgen Fenech, the main suspect in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination, Lovin Malta can reveal.
In January 2019, when Marie Louise Coleiro Preca occupied the role, Portelli reached out to Fenech to leak a story claiming that the PN’s rebel MPs were meeting with the then-President to oust Adrian Delia from the leadership.
At the time, Delia was facing allegations of domestic violence during an acrimonious split with his wife Nickie Vella De Fremaux. He was also facing several questions as to whether his position had become untenable because of the issue.
Sources suggested that Portelli’s plan was to strengthen Delia’s position by implying a coup was on the cards.
Coleiro Preca has denied a meeting with the MPs did took place.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo also appear in conversations between the pair – with Fenech raising concerns that the pair were prospective candidates to take over the Presidential role.
George Vella was eventually appointed as Malta’s President in April 2019.
Portelli was serving as the head of Media.Link, the PN’s media wing, and was the right-hand man of then-leader Delia. Fenech had not yet been charged in connection to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia but had already been outed as the owner of 17 Black, the Dubai-based company linked to alleged government corruption.
Portelli has since resigned from the PN Executive. However, he still remains a PN member, while his former boss Delia remains a sitting MP.
Lovin Malta has previously revealed how Portelli and Fenech would communicate regularly on encrypted messaging services, colluding on leaking stories against internal party rivals. The pair even discussed David Casa’s MEP reelection bid at length.
This included stories against Chris Said, who competed against Delia for PN leadership, and Nickie Vella De Fremaux, Delia’s estranged ex-wife.
Portelli even reached out to Fenech to ensure an article claiming that the PN’s youth wing had been taken over by anti-corruption groups, like Occupy Justice, and Casa was published in Labour Party-leaning media.
This newsroom also exposed closer links to Portelli and Fenech, with the former asking Fenech to help resolve growing salary issues within the PN in March 2019.
Portelli has refused to comment on the issue.
“I am out of politics and have no intention of returning to the fray therefore while reserving my legal rights, I will not entertain any discussion related to my time in politics,” he said.
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